Be safe in water during summer holidays

Make sure your children are safe when playing in water this summer holiday.

Hot summer holidays are times to enjoy. Families and individuals escape the discomfort of heat waves by partaking in excessive activities around rivers, dams and oceans. The Department of Water and Sanitation urges citizens to obey safety rules and regulations around dams, rivers and oceans across the country during festive seasons and beyond.
Most of inland holiday makers will be flocking to the seaside, many of them as first timers to the beach. It is important that visitors take note of beach safety precautions indicated on municipal notice boards, with lifeguards appointed to monitor and enforce beach safety procedures.
Flags are erected in the sand near the water’s edge to indicate the areas that are safe for swimming. It is very important that bathers do not swim outside these flags, as they may be caught in rip currents and swept out to sea. At certain beaches, sirens will sound in the event that a shark is spotted. If you are in the water when this happens, leave the water quickly but calmly. When entering a boat it is a prerequisite to wear a life jacket all times because good swimmers are also susceptible to drowning. Alcohol and water do not mix. Stay away from dams, rivers and sea water when intoxicated.
Public swimming pools are usually supervised by lifeguards too, however, accidents still occur. It is of the essence to follow instructions of pool lifeguards and obey safety notices. Always ensure that the depth of water in the pool is appropriate for swimming or diving. Constantly check that water is clear of other users before jumping or diving in water to lessen the possibility of colliding and injuring both you and other people in water, which can even cause disastrous drowning.
Lakes and dams are also serious spots in most rural areas of South Africa where many teenagers lose their life due to lack of knowledge and safety around water. It is of the essence that any activity around lakes, dams and rivers happens under a watchful eye of adult supervision. Before attempting to enter any water, check for the presence and strength of the current flow. If caught in a fast flowing river current, travel feet first in order to protect the head and body from serious injuries.
Safety in homes is also a priority during schools holidays; do not under any circumstances leave children unattended around water. If a child is missing, search water areas first to save valuable seconds. Never allow a young child in the pool without an adult, regardless of how confident you may feel. Learn how to do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). This is especially advisable for babysitters, minders, parents and older siblings. Keep a list of emergency numbers programmed on your cell phone and make sure that everyone in the household knows how to access help in such a situation. – Marcus Monyakeni