T.H.I.N.K. your way to summer water safety
By Olivia McClure
U of A System Division of Agriculture
July 1, 2016
- Life Jackets should be "comfortably snug"
- Pay attention to the current water conditions
FERNDALE, Ark. -- Whether it’s a pool or lake or stream that offers relief from the heat, it’s important to T.H.I.N.K. your way to water safety, said Shannon Caldwell, 4-H center program director.
"Using the T.H.I.N.K. acronym can make it easier to remember some of the most common water safety issues that lead to injury,” Caldwell said. ”By making yourself aware of these issues, you are more likely to be prepared and take proper precautions during water activities."
"T" stands for TOO. Ask yourself these questions: Am I TOO tired? If so, take a rest break. Is the water TOO cold? Test it before you dive in, if the answer is yes, do not swim in that area. Is the area I'm swimming in TOO far from safety? Check and see where you are in relation to a lifeguard, or shore line. Lastly, am I getting TOO much sun? Remember to apply sunscreen consistently and drink plenty of water.
"H" stands for HAZARDS. Teach your children to stay away from ditches, culverts, and unfamiliar creeks and ponds in your area. These areas can have many different hazardous materials lying in wait. Hazards can be anything from a hole to a broken tree branch, know what you're getting into and pay attention to your surroundings.
"I" stands for INEXPERIENCED swimmer. Pool noodles and floaties are fun, but they are not always made for safety. If you have an inexperienced swimmer, make sure they wear a coast guard approved lifejacket, appropriate for their size. The way your lifejacket should fit is snug but comfortable. Also stay within arms reach in case they need help.
"N" stands for NO substitute for adult supervision. Lifeguards are on duty to prevent and respond to water emergencies, they are not there to babysit. Make sure you are watching your children when they are near water, that way you can deal with the ins and outs of swimming when it comes specifically to your child.
"K" stands for KNOW the area. Any body of water can contain unexpected hazards, such as stumps, logs, shallow areas, drop offs, and strong currents. Knowing the area can prevent a lot of mishaps while out on the water.
"Many people will make water recreation part of their summer activities,” Caldwell said. “Sometimes people just get excited about their water activity and don't pay attention to things like overheating, increased water flow and current due to recent rains, or drifting far from the shore, lifeguard or supervising adult.
Being prepared and aware can make your water activities a fun, stress free experience,” she said.
For more information about summer water safety visit www.uaex.uada.edu or contact your county extension office.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service