The nice weather has finally arrived and the pools will be open soon! You will be keeping cool and staying active in no time. Swimming and diving are favorite summer activities for both adults and children; however, there is also the risk of injury.
According to the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation:
- As many as 1,000 spinal cord injuries occur each year due to shallow water diving
- Ninety percent of all diving injuries cause a spinal cord injury which results in paralysis
- Most injuries occur to males aged 15-25 years
- Most injuries occur while diving into six feet of water or less
- Three out of four injuries occur in lakes, rivers, oceans and other natural bodies of water
First and foremost, before you dive into any depth of water – be sure to jump feet first the first time. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the waters. The recommended depth to dive from the side of a pool is 11 feet, while the recommended depth for diving from a diving board is 12 feet. If you are diving from a diving board, dive straight from the board and not from the sides. It is not advised to dive from various structures, such as ladders, slides, fences, etc. As always, follow posted water safety rules and always supervise children while diving and swimming.
If there is a suspected injury in water, call 911 immediately. Because the victim could be in pain and/or shock, approach the victim carefully. If they are not on their back, carefully hold the victim’s head in alignment with his or her back and gently turn him or her onto his back. It’s imperative to keep their head and back stabilized. Do not remove the victim from the water until EMS arrives.