WF officials offer tips to stay safe near water

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — While soaking up some rays and splashing around in a pool, lake or ocean may be lots of fun, it’s important to remember tragedies can happen near bodies of water.

Both Noel Filer with the YMCA and Dr. Jeremy Sautner with ER Now said lack of supervision is to blame for most accidents around the pool.

“Parents should never rely on floaties as a pool babysitter,” YMCA Mission Advancement Director Noel Filer said.

“It definitely increases the likelihood of having a water-based injury,” Sautner said.

Just because a lifeguard is on duty, doesn’t mean parents don’t need to watch their kids.

In the event a child goes under, experts say calling 911 immediately and getting advice on how to administer CPR is critical.

“Oxygen deprivation to the brain, oxygen deprivation to the heart both kill,” Sautner said, “so the sooner you can get oxygen to the heart and the brain the better chance of survival. “

Heat exhaustion is also a leading cause of drownings each year.

“It is hot all over the country right now. Making sure that people stay well hydrated while they are out in the sun is very important and not just beer, but water, sports drinks are very important,” Sautner said.

Drinking plenty of fluids will also help combat sunburn, and while a tan does look nice Sautner said, “it remarkably increases your chances of skin cancer.”

Sautner said he recommends a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF but says 50, is even better.

If someone gets burned, Sautner said, mild burns, first degree burns, over the counter, topical cooling which generally has lidocaine, similar anesthetic in there, is fine to put on there.

At the Wichita Falls YMCA, water safety classes are offered for toddlers and even senior citizens.

“Parents can start as young as 6 months with their little one,” Filer said. “We have 80-year-old’s here at the Y who have learned to swim for the very first time.”

According to the CDC, nearly 80 percent of those involved in a home drowning accident had been missing for no more than five minutes when they were found in the swimming pool.

About 70 percent of those victims weren’t expected to be in or near the pool at the time of the accident.

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