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Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and many Americans may choose to spend that time cooling off in the water. A trip to the beach, a day at the lake, or an afternoon in the swimming pool can end up being a great way to beat the heat while simultaneously celebrating our nation’s independence. As anyone knows, however, such water spots can be dangerous. Injuries and drownings are all too common. A key to staying safe is knowing the dangers associated with water and how to avoid them. Stay safe this Fourth of July by understanding water risks and following certain guidelines to avoid drowning.

Understand the Risks of Water

An accident in or near a body of water can cause serious injury and even death. Many of these injuries can be avoided. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated eighty percent of all drownings are preventable. Understanding some of the common dangers surrounding water environments is key to avoiding harm.

Natural swimming environments – When swimming in ponds, rivers, lakes, or the ocean, be sure you are aware of the potential sources of harm. Weather conditions can render a natural water environment dangerous in a matter of minutes. Storms, heavy rains, and flooding can cause strong currents and dangerously increase water depth. When swimming in rivers, lakes, and oceans, it can be difficult to properly estimate water depth. Natural swimming spots are usually not clear enough to fully see objects that can cause harm, such as rocks, tree stumps, debris, or the like.

Man-made swimming environments – Although man-made swimming environments may be safer than natural swimming spots, there are still dangers to avoid. Be careful of any inlets or outlets, which can provide suction that traps body parts or hair and keeps swimmers’ heads trapped underwater. Be aware that high temperatures in spas or hot tubs–especially when combined with alcohol–can cause drowsiness, which may lead to unconsciousness and drowning. Many swimming accidents involve children who wander into pools or spas when unsupervised. Thus, dangerous conditions around swimming pools may include open or unlocked gates, broken fences, or the like.

Tips for Water Safety

In addition to avoiding the potential harms associated with bodies of water, there are a number of positive things you can do to keep safe. Swim with a buddy. Heed any posted warnings or instructions by lifeguards. Consider learning CPR. Know how to contact emergency personnel if need be. Set clear boundaries for children as to when and how they are to play around water. Protect your backyard pools and spas from unsupervised intruders with fences and other protective coverings.

What to Do if a Loved One Dies in a Drowning Accident

Accidents involving the water can be serious, even deadly. If your child or another loved one has died in a drowning accident, or has otherwise been injured in a body of water, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An Atlanta injury attorney with experience helping people in drowning accidents can provide expertise to help you navigate the difficult legal landscape of our civil court system. They can review the facts of your case, determine whether you have a viable claim, and help you seek the compensation you deserve.

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