(O’FALLON, IL)  -- Swimming is a great way to relax and beat the summer heat, but before you pack your towels and sunscreen, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital wants to make sure you and your family know about swimming safety.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death of American children ages one to 19. Many deaths from drowning can be prevented by following a few simple rules for swimming in pools or natural bodies of water.

St. Elizabeth’s recommends the following swimming rules:

  • Learn how to swim – It is essential if you plan on being in, on or near water. Many organizations provide swim instruction to people of all ages.

  • Supervise young children – Never allow your children to swim alone without adult supervision.

  • Lifeguard on duty – When swimming in bodies of water other than residential pools, swim only when a lifeguard is on duty and in areas designated for swimming.

  • Know your limits – If you're not a good swimmer or you're just learning to swim, don't go in water that's so deep you can't touch the bottom and don't try to keep up with skilled swimmers.

  • Buddy up – If you are a good swimmer and have had lessons, keep an eye on friends who aren't as comfortable or as skilled.

  • Think before you dive – Do not dive headfirst into shallow or murky water, or water of uncertain depth.

  • Use proper floatation devices – Inflatable toys, rafts, air mattresses and water wings should never be used as lifesaving devices for children

  • Learn CPR and first aid – Adults, especially those who are parents or who care for children, should learn basic first aid and CPR.

  • Swim sober – Do not swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Being under the influence of either or both seriously impairs judgment and coordination and increases the risk of injury or drowning.

“Water related injuries are commonly seen in the ER, especially during the summer months,” said Christopher Wangard, MD, an SSM Health Cardinal Glennon pediatric physician in St. Elizabeth’s emergency department. “Following common sense safety precautions and being actively engaged when overseeing children in the water is important.”

SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Emergency Pediatric Care is available 24/7 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s emergency department. In addition, pediatricians also provide newborn nursery coverage in the Mother Child Center. For more information about pediatric care at St. Elizabeth’s, visit  http://www.steliz.org/Medical-Services/Emergency-Services/24-7-Cardinal-Glennon-Pediatrics.

Media Contact

Kelly Barbeau

Manager, Marketing & Communications
HSHS Illinois
Office: (618) 234-2120, Ext. 41270

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