What better way to beat the heat that’s gripping LA than to head down to the pool or the ocean for a dip? But before you do, make sure your family stays safe in the water this summer by watching out for some of these common swimming-related dangers.
If you’re planning to head down to the beach to hop in the ocean this summer, there’s a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to make sure you stay safe and sound. First of all, as all Angelenos should know: you need to inspect the water quality on any given day to see if it looks safe to swim in.
If there is excess debris, trash, or decaying fish or animal matter near the spot you’re planning to swim, maybe pick a different spot. That’s because harmful bacteria can propagate in this type of water, leading to a whole host of complications and nasty health effects depending which strain you’ve ingested.
And when it comes to the ocean, we’d be remiss to not mention another clear and present danger: waves and currents. For the uninitiated, ocean swimming can quickly turn deadly, as timing the waves and currents can be tricky depending on the day and the severity of the ocean’s turmoil. Always stay within easy distance of shore, and make sure that you’re swimming in an area that has ample lifeguard presence. Before swimming in the ocean, you should research riptides and understand how to escape them (swimming parallel, to the shore, not towards it). And whatever you do, don’t let children who are not strong swimmers play in the ocean unsupervised — as the ocean’s current can shift from placid to angry in an instant.
Whether you’re swimming in the ocean or the pool, you need to know how to spot the signs of drowning. Always know your limits, and never play games where you try to see how long you can hold your breath: there are lots of documented instances of these games turning deadly.
Always keep flotation devices handy and near the area you’re swimming, in case the swimmer needs a quick rescue. Even for strong swimmers, a sudden injury or jellyfish sting, for example, can render them unable to save themselves as they normally would.
Finally, you should familiarize yourself with “dry drowning,” an affliction that can reach anyone but is particularly dangerous for children. So-called “dry drowning” occurs when someone aspirates (breathes in) water into the lungs — not enough to cause instant drowning, but enough to begin to cause complications that can lead to (essentially) drowning even once the person is on land. Dry drowning is characterized by coughing, sputtering, and sudden fatigue due to lack of oxygen. If someone who was swimming starts exhibiting these symptoms, they need medical attention immediately.
Keeping these risks in mind helps you better prepare for your day out taking a dip, so that you and your family can enjoy yourselves safely and memorably!