Water Safety

“Navigating Neva!” Neva Nicole here! 


Today is Episode 2. Welcome back.


Thank you for coming.


I am going to share with you how to stay safe in and around the water, and that's because I want no drownings. I want a zero drowning summer. I want you to be safe; I want each child to be safe.


I'm an aquatic professional with 20 plus years in my industry. Check out my bio.


From sitting on the stands and lifeguarding, to certifying lifeguards and running a pool, I've seen a lot. And I'm here to share with you my stories and my opinions, and give you resources that I always know about because they've been at my fingertips. They might not be at yours, but I'm going to share them

with you, because I want you to stay safe and enjoy the summer.


Listen up and have a happy and healthy summer! As always, remember your safety comes first.


Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages one to four.


10 people drown every day, 3400 people drown each year.


These are just some facts that I pulled from stopdroundingnow.org, but today we're going to talk about 'water safety tips' and there's a lot of stuff out there, but I'm going to talk about the 'ndpakidshealth.org' and 'the American red cross whales tales'.


So, listen up.


First, I want to review what we talked about in our first episode which was 'layers of protection’. If you don't remember, I'm going to tell you. But if you're going to forget, if you go to my Facebook page I've made some little images that you can share with people that talk about supervising, barriers, learning to swim, and how to respond. Those were our layers of protection, and each one we broke them down and talked about them.


Today, our focus is going to be on 'water safety', and there's a lot, a lot that you can find out there, but I tried to put it down to the most important things, so that we can have a good in-depth conversation about most of them.


So, first one is: never swim alone. Designate a water watcher, swim in a designated swimming area, when in doubt get out, and know your limits, currents, sun safety, stay hydrated, US coast guard approved personal flotation devices, and learn CPR. 


If you noticed, some of those were repeats from last week. So, that's okay, must mean it's really important if we're going to talk about it again. 

All right, first one: never swim alone.  I'm going to tell you that's our repeat: never swim alone; no solo bathing.


Last week's rule one was: supervised. If you're an adult, you might not be supervised but you shouldn't go swimming alone, you can get into trouble in the water. And if you get into trouble in the water, I would hate for your kids to be the ones that come and try to save you.  They can. I teach this in my swim lessons, 'how to save your mom and dad' because I understand: Not everybody knows how to swim. 


But, it's really important, that you don't swim alone


Second: Designate a water watcher. We talked about this last week. 


If you haven't done it, go online to poolsafely.org and take the 'water watcher pledge'. It is a great pledge. I encourage you to take it; I encourage you to share with me that you've taken it.  I would love to see you guys take the water watcher pledge and keep everyone safe.


If you remember, last week I shared with you guys a story. If you didn't listen, I'll quickly recap.


A lady brought her son to the pool, and she just assumed, because there were other parents around, they were watching. Well they weren't, and the little boy got in trouble, and he's okay. You'll have to listen to episode one to hear the story. 


But, you gotta have a designated water watcher. Make sure someone knows that it's their job.


Third:  A designated swimming area. 


So, if it's a pool, it's pretty easy to identify, you can see the pool, you've got it. Good. 

But, if it's a body of water, it's inviting, it's tempting to swim and you want to make sure it's safe. 


So a lot of times, there's a float rope marking the swimming area. So if you go out to a lake, a waterfront, I've even seen them off rivers; they're going to mark off the swimming area with this rope that has buoys to indicate that the water is safe there.


So, sometimes the water is not safe. So, sometimes I see the pool, I can tell that's the swimming area, but I can't see the drain.


So I want to caution you guys, as summer approaches, we only want to swim in water that's well maintained. So somebody should be keeping up with the water, and it should be safe for you to swim in, and the biggest thing is to teach your kids to look out for drains. They should be able to see the bottom. 


There's a story-- some of you may know it. In 2002, there was a Hollywood birthday party and the little boy went missing. He was missing for two days, and everybody was looking for him, and they just didn't think to look in the pool. They looked in the pool, but they didn't see him.  He wasn't in the pool.

They searched the woods, they looked everywhere, and then two days later he floats up to the surface.  The reason this happened is-- the water was murky, it was cloudy. 


So sometimes, it's hard to tell in a pool depending on how old it is, or what is the finish or the surface looks like. But, cloudy or milky water, we want to avoid. 


Obviously, we don't get in green water because it doesn't look inviting, but milky and cloudy water should be just as alarming. So we want to stay away from water that's not treated. So when we go swimming, we want to look for these designated swimming areas, and the reason it's important, is because we don't know what's below the surface. So sometimes, there's things under the water, and we don't see them.


So, I got a story for you: when I was a little kid, I lived in Savannah, Georgia, and if you're not familiar with this area: the tides come and go, tide goes out, water goes down six feet, tide comes in, water goes up six feet. So, it's a big difference. And when I was little, we would go down to the creek, and we'd play in the mud, and when the tide was high, there was no mud. We'd jump off the dock and play in the water. 

Well, there was a bike at the end of one of the docks, and I always thought it was eerie and spooky and whatever. There was barnacles all over it, it was from the 1950s, I don't know why it was there, obviously, we couldn't get it out it was stuck in the mud. We didn't go over there because it had barnacles on it. So we just stayed away from it, but the thing is, that could have been anything. It could have been a car, it could have been a bike, but when it's high tide you don't know what's under the water. If you don't know your swimming area, so you jump in and you're going to hit it. 


So, a pool safety rule is: always enter the water feet first, especially in a new area


When I take my kids to the pool, we do a pool tour. So, if you're looking for your designated swimming area, just do a nice little tour.

I walk around the pool, I say: "this is the deep end, this is the shallow end". I ask them if they know where the deep end is, I ask them how they know that's the deep end, and if they're older we look for the numbers. We look at the number, I ask them what the number is, they tell me what the number is: "it's 3 feet, it's 3.5 it's three and a half, it's 4 feet, it's 7 feet, it's 9 feet". 


Anyway, we mark the water. A good habit here is to make sure your kids know the water depth, and when you're at home you can measure your child and tell your child how tall they are, but say if the water was that tall, they would be under water. So they want the water to come where? And then you guys can decide that number together. Then when you go to the pool, they know what kind of water they want to get in, and if that water is too deep for them. 


So, when in doubt, get out. So, we're going to watch out for the dangers too. If you're too tired, too cold, too far from safety, had too much sun, too much strenuous activity; you want to get out. So, when in doubt, you're like, 'hmm, am I too cold?' Probably are, you should get out.  'Am I too tired?' hmm, probably are, you should get out. So dangerous 'twos', and also 'Is there unfavorable water?', 'weather, unfavorable weather?' So, don't doubt, get out. 


If there's an electrical storm, or heavy rains the NDPA says to 'Watch your weather' channel so that you know the conditions before you go. We don't want to risk this. Savannah, not where I am but Savannah, Georgia had a guy get struck by lightning last year when he was swimming out in the water. So, it happens, that's how that happens. So, we want to know the weather, and we want to avoid unfavorable conditions, and when in doubt we want to get out.


You also want to know your limits. This one's from kidshealth.org


'Buddy up'. I always put my kids with a buddy, but you don't want to put your kids with a buddy, if the buddy is not the same level as they are. So, know your limits. If your kids go to a camp, and they go swimming, chances are they take a swim test, and then they know their limits, they're either a swimmer or a non-swimmer. Maybe, your kids go to swim lessons, so they know their limits. 


You want to know, what's safe for you. So get a buddy, make sure your buddy is the same swimming ability as you.


I'm going to tell you a story: it's a sad story because; well that's why I made this podcast. I don't like sad stories, but I know a lot of them. So, when I was a teenager, I got a job as a lifeguard, and when I got that job, the deep-end had been filled in, and made into a kiddie pool which was a great idea.

I'm sure there was lots of reason for this to happen, it was old, there was a league, a lot of people get rid of their deep ends and add kiddie pools nowadays. 

But, what also happened was: a child wanted to be with her brother, and they were in the pool and they were swimming that day, and the little boy went to the deep end, and the sister said 'oh me too'. So she went 'hand over hand or monkey down the wall', whatever you guys call that, when you can't swim but you hang onto the wall, and you go hand over hand until you get to your destination. 

So she saw her brother and she lets go and she tries to get to him, but it was 10 feet, 13 feet at the drain and she doesn't make it. So she's saved, she didn't drown; it wasn't a bad story, it was not a fun story but it wasn't a sad story, she is okay. But the point is, when you buddy up your kids, you want to make sure that their buddy is a good fit. Know their limits, and don't put them with a buddy that's going to get them in harm or put them out of their comfort zone.


Next is, 'currents'. So, there's a few different kinds of currents: there are currents in a river and then there's currents at the beach. 

So, if you guys have heard of rip currents, these are at the beach. Rip currents are narrow currents that occur in surf zones that result in water flowing away from the shore. Typically, near the break in a sandbar. Riptides, on the other hand, are very strong currents that occur as the tide pulls away from

an inlet, and you could have both. 

Where we live, we’ve got a lot of sand bars, It's also a regular ocean, so it's got its own little tide pools. Again, I'm not going to make anything new, when it's already out there. If you guys do a search, there's a lot of stuff about rip currents, but if you want to teach your kids about them, there's a there's a video, and they have dive in the water and you can see the way the water pulls, but sometimes what you see on the surface isn't what's happening underneath the water. So, you want to be careful.


If you get caught in a rip current, they tell you that you want to swim along the shoreline until you can escape the current's pull, and then you can go up to the shore-- back to where you were. So, don't fight it, that's the big thing, don't fight it. Rest, float on your back, but don't fight at current.


Even the best swimmers cannot, I mean it, would be really hard, maybe they can but it's going to be a struggle.


There are tons of videos all over the web though. River current is moving water. So, if you look downstream-- keep calm, breathe with the flow of the water, and try to keep from swallowing too much water.  

Then when you get to calmer water, you can flip over and then swim diagonally to shore, and follow the current.

So, rivers are moving bodies of water, the ocean is also a giant moving body of water, and there's currents and channels and things in the water. So make sure your children know those things exist.


Next is 'Sun safety'


So, if you get burned, you know what it's like, so I'm going to sum this up, you want to avoid getting sunburned.


When I teach swimming lessons, I always have the kids name five ways that they can stay safe from the sun, and we count them on my fingers. I say, 'how do we stay safe?', 'how do we not get sunburned?' and they tell me, we talk about hats: hats protect our face, and our eyes sunglasses: sunglasses protect our eyes, umbrellas and shade, maybe there's no umbrella but there's shade. You can stay under an umbrella or shade, a white t-shirt is going to give you some protection, you can even buy swim shirts to have more protection, and then sunscreen or lotion is the fifth one. So, hat, sunglasses, umbrella, shirt and lotion.


The CDC has great resources on sun safety. So if you want cute little things, I'll go get them from the  CDC, and I'll post them on my page my Facebook page: Navigating Neva. But, there's lots of information: so, 'American academy of dermatologists' have 'Frequently asked questions' if you want

to look there. You can get sun poisoning, and that takes away all your fun. You can get sun blisters. Sunburn is a radiation burn


When I was a little kid we went to Orlando one summer, I don't know how little I was. I was little. 

I had fun all day in that pool, and I went to bed and I was in so much pain I could not rest and the sheets, felt painful, they were scratchy, my skin was red, and a lot of times it happens.


The first time you're exposed to the sun for the year, you've been indoors all winter, and you haven't been outside and you go outside you just get burnt, and it's not fun. It takes away all the fun; it's painful.


Next is 'hydration'.  So, we’re having fun, we're in the water and it's hot. 

But we don't realize, we're thirsty because we're in the water, and we're wet and we're cooled down. But you can still become dehydrated and overheated. Dehydration and being overheated is going to lead to things like heat cramps, which leads to heat exhaustion, which leads to heat stroke. So you want to remember to drink water, you don't always realize you're thirsty, and you don't always realize you're hot, because you're playing. 


And also, avoid alcohol. They tell you: avoid alcohol. Alcohol and boating don't mix, alcohol and swimming don't mix.  The combination of alcohol and prolonged exposure to water increases the likelihood of hypothermia. So, that's the body's ability to stay warm. 


So, you're trying to stay warm and you can't. And I know you, guys like the water and the water is nice, but in reality anytime you get into a body of water that's not the same as your core temperature, your body's fighting to keep the internal organs at its core temperature. So, you might like the cool water on the warm day, but if you're drinking alcohol you're increasing the likelihood of hypothermia.


Next on our list: US coast guard approved personal flotation devices. That's a big word I know it. Personal flotation devices also known as a PFD. All this means is that the US coast guard has approved this flotation device. The biggest thing is that, your flotation device cannot be popped.

It's not an inner tube, it's not going to pop if the side of the boat hits it, or a rock hits it, or you're in a boating accident-- you fly off the boat, it's going to stay. So, we're supposed to use a personal floatation device, if we can't swim. We also want to use it if we're on a boat, on a jet ski out on the water.

If something happens and we fall in the water that US coast guard approved flotation device is going to keep your face up, if you happen to be unconscious; that's what they're designed for. So have one and wear it.


The 'American red cross whales tales' says, 'don't just pack it, wear your jacket'. 

So, get a life jacket, make sure it's the right size for you, make sure it's the right type for your activity, try it on, make sure it's not too big, not too small, you want it to fit properly, and then wear it when you go



Next is, learn CPR. That is our next episode, and it's got some good stuff. Learning CPR is important.


So, we're going to sum up today's 'water safety topics', and the 'American Red Cross Whales Tales' is my favorite. I'm going to quickly tell you what some of these are and then I'm going to post them all on navigatingneva.com. For today's episode, I'm also going to post them on Facebook, Navigating Neva on Facebook, so these are good and I like them. 


The 'American red cross whales tales' 

  • Rule one: swim as a pair near the lifeguard's chair
  • Look before you leap
  • Think- so you don't see
  • Reach or throw- don't go
  • Don't just pack it-wear your jacket
  • Too much sun- is no fun
  • In your house or in your yard- watch for water, be on guard
  • Wave tide or ride- follow the guide.


So, if you're not familiar with the American red cross whales tales program, there's worksheets you can do with your kids, there's videos if you're a teacher. It's designed to be easily accessible for you to teach to your students, there's different worksheets for different ages, and there's different activities in there. 


So, don't forget to tune back in for my next episode, when we talk about drownings and CPR in my 'My Drowning Story', and I'm going to tell you guys, I have appreciated you listening to me today.

This is my second recording, if you have anything you want to share with me, and request you can reach me at navigatingneva@gmail.com.


Remember: No Drownings. I want a zero drowning summer, stay safe and enjoy the summer. 


Until next time, this is Neva Nicole with 'Navigating Neva' 


Enjoyed today's episode? Want a Free Frig Magnet with water safety rules? Click here: internal://b74c330c-3695-4660-8f69-bd6e37ea48f7