Stay safe on the water this summer

Stay safe on the water this summer
Posted at 5:58 AM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 12:14:25-04

NAMPA, Idaho — As it starts to get warmer in the Treasure Valley, the rivers, lakes, and streams are starting to look more appealing. However, the waterways can turn deadly in a second.

Drowning does not look like it does on the television, so it is good to stay aware of everyone in your group when enjoying outdoor water activities.

"On TV and in movies, we see somebody that's drowning, that's splashing and calling out for help, but that's not reality. Drowning is silent and it only takes a kid about fifteen seconds before they slip under the water," said Dr. Justin Sempsprott, the Medical Director of the Emergency Department at West Valley Medical Center.

It is important to note that drowning is caused by lack of oxygen, not the amount of water entering the lungs. Drowning should be known as a process, not an outcome, as the outcomes can range from no injury to death.

Some ways to reduce drowning risk include:

  • Supervising children at all times
  • Enrolling kids in swim lessons
  • Learning CPR
  • Wearing a life jacket
  • Avoiding alcohol

After someone is rescued from the water, look out for coughing, wheezing or feeling lightheaded. More severe symptoms can include irritability, confusion, headache, lethargy, vomiting, respiratory difficulties, or unconsciousness. Seek emergency medical care if the severe symptoms are noticed. These symptoms will be noticeable within a few hours of getting out of the water. If these symptoms are noticed days or months after the drowning incident, they are not from drowning and should be investigated by a medical professional.

A little common sense can keep everyone safer while on the water. It is a good idea to make sure everyone knows how to swim and is wearing a properly fitted life jacket. A good infant jacket has a strap between the legs, so it does not ride up over the head.