UACES Facebook T-H-I-N-K Before You Swim!
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T-H-I-N-K Before You Swim!

Ninety percent of families with young children will be in the water sometime this year.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Swimming and water recreation can be a great family outing.  Ninety percent of families with young children will be in the water sometime this year.  Of those ninety percent, half of those will swim in an area with no lifeguard.  When planning the family water outing, keeping the family safe will be easier if you can remember to "THINK". 
     “T” stands for the dangerous “Too's” --too tired, too cold, too far from safety and too much sun.  Any of these can lead to serious safety concerns.  Remember to take rest breaks, don't swim in water that is too cold, stay close to a lifeguard or close to the shore, and remember to apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water. 
     “H” stands for “Hazards.”  Culverts and ditches can be dangerous.  Lots of rain can bring some enticing, fast running water into areas where there is usually little or no running water.  Although it may seem like fun to play in these water areas, they can be some of the most hazardous places to be.  So teach your children to stay away from hazards such as ditches, culverts, creeks, and ponds that are in your neighborhood or community, especially after periods of heavy rain. 
     “I” means to watch out for the “Inexperienced swimmer”.  Remember that noodles, floaties, and other water toys are for fun, not for safety.  If you have an inexperienced swimmer in your family, do not rely on these water toys to keep them safe.  Make sure they wear a coast guard approved life jacket that is appropriate for their size.  It is important that the swimmer puts on the life jacket before entering the water.  Adults should stay within an arms-reach of children in case they need help. 
     “N” refers to the fact that there is “No substitute for adult supervision”.  A lifeguard is for helping in emergency situations, not babysitting.  It is recommended that you swim in areas that have a lifeguard on duty.  Remember, however, that the lifeguard’s job is to prevent and respond to water emergencies.  It is the parent's job to supervise their own child. 
     “K” stands for “Knowing your area”.  Many creeks, streams, and some areas of the lake can be too shallow for diving.  Natural bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans can contain unexpected hazards like rocks, stumps, shallow areas, sudden drop-offs, or strong currents.  If you don't know the area, don't go swimming there.  You should also be familiar with the depth of the pool you are swimming in.  The depth should be marked on the side of the pool. 
     With several weeks of summer left, many adults, teens, and children will continue to take advantage of spending time in the water.  Swimming and water recreations are staples of summertime fun as families make many life-long memories.  Whether swimming in your backyard pool or a river or pond, safety is always a number one priority.  Help your family have a better time in the water by remembering to T-H-I-N-K before your outing.  Have a safe summer! 

By Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
(501) 623-6841

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