With the summer Olympics happening now in Brazil a lot of children will decide that they, too, want to dive in the Olympics one day. They may sign up for diving classes, take “diving” at their local gymnastics center or just start diving off the board at the pool. All of these are safe ways to start diving. Diving can also be very dangerous.
Each year, roughly 6500 teenagers are seen in the emergency department because of a diving related injury. Diving in shallow water or water of an unknown depth can cause very serious injuries such as injuries to the spinal cord, which can result in paralysis from the neck down.
Here are six tips to make diving safer for you and your family:
- Always enter unknown water feet-first, regardless if you can see the bottom or signs mark it OK for diving.
- Never dive into the shallow end of a pool. The Red Cross recommends a depth of 9 feet for head-first diving.
- Do not dive into lakes, rivers, ponds – you cannot see the bottom and there are often logs and rocks hidden in these waters.
- Just because you used to dive somewhere does not make it safe! You may have grown and need deeper water or currents may have moved items in rivers, ponds and lakes.
- Some injuries are caused by hitting the side of the pool. Never attempt to throw someone in a pool – they may resist and hit the side of the pool instead.
- Always avoid alcohol when you are swimming.
Nothing is quite as refreshing as going headfirst into cool water on a hot summer day. Just remember that every pool has a bottom and it may be closer than you think.