MDA Issues Water Safety Guidelines
Following a week in which several children nearly drowned and two died, the Magen David Adom emergency response organization has issued safety instructions for those visiting the beach or a pool.
- Swim only at recognized beaches, with lifeguards, during hours when the lifeguard is on duty.
- Remain within the lifeguard’s range of vision. If you cannot see the lifeguard, assume the lifeguard cannot see you.
- Avoid dangerous games, including any game that involves mock drowning or jumping on people in the water. Do not jump into murky water – misestimating the depth of the water, or failing to see underwater objects, can lead to serious head or spine injuries.
- Know your abilities. Do not swim farther than you are accustomed to, and remember to save energy for the swim back to shore. If you grow tired, get out of the water and drink and rest.
- Do not swim near a breakwater. Strong undertows are likely to form in this area.
- Do not allow children or babies to be near water without adult supervision for even a single minute.
- Children under age 5 are at particular risk for drowning. Their build, in which the head is heavier than the body, gives them a high center of mass, making them more likely to fall head-first into a pool, bucket, bath, or the like. Children do not understand the danger and do not know how to be careful, making supervision extremely important.
- Drowning happens very quickly. A few minutes of distraction is enough for a child to drown. Remain within arm’s reach of children while in the water, and stay focused on them. If you are in the water with several children, please make sure another responsible adult is with them.
- Water wings, inflatable rings and the like are likely to give a false sense of security. Be sure to carefully supervise children even when using these items.
If someone drowns:
- Get the person drowning out of the water. Avoid putting your own life in danger. At the same time, dial 101 to call MDA.
- Listen to the instructions from staff on the 101 hotline. They will tell you how to help the drowning victim until paramedics arrive.
- If the person is not breathing (chest is not rising and falling) put them on their back at a distance from the water and immediately begin massaging the chest.
- A person who was drowning should be brought to the hospital for testing even if he feels fine.