Ways to prevent drownings at the Jersey Shore this summer
It's National Beach Safety Week and after a summer that saw several drownings across the Jersey Shore in 2017 (eight at the beaches), officials are urging caution as you head for the water.
Summer 2018 officially gets underway in just a couple weeks but when you go the beach this summer with the kids, how do you make sure they have a good time but also stay safe?
Dr. Gene Hession, Chapter President of the Monmouth County U.S. Lifesaving Association says sometimes the best lifeguard for your kids...is you.
"When your children, especially young children, go in the water...you should go in the water," Hession said. "You can't supervise your kids 50-yards up the beach sitting in a chair. On any given day, there could be 500-people swimming at an ocean beach...a 3 or a 4-year old standing behind an adult is difficult for a lifeguard to see, but easy for a parent to supervise."
He also discourages the use of kids using a flotation device in the water because it gives them a false sense of security.
"They tend to go out further than they should," Hession said. "The best drown proof measure you can take is to make sure your children learn how to swim at an early age."
When you get to the beach check the posted signs describing the water conditions that day.
"Green means swimming is perfectly safe, yellow means be cautious and red means there's absolutely no swimming," Hession said.
As simple as it sounds, Hession, says you need to know how to swim.
"If you cannot swim an overhead stroke continuously for 15-minutes, you should think twice about going in the ocean," Hession said.
He also has some other advice you really need to follow for your own good this summer.
"Never swim alone, always swim with a buddy," Hession said. "You should always swim near a lifeguard and never swim after hours when lifeguards are off-duty and never dive off piers or jetties."
Your swimming in the water on a nice sunny day, everything is fine.
Then you run out of breath and start to panic because you feel you can't swim or you're being pulled under.
What do you do?
Dr. Eric Costanzo, Pulmonologist and Critical Care Specialist at Jersey Shore University Medical Center says the first thing to do is relax, panicking only makes it worse.
"Calm yourself down, calm your heart-rate down and then start thinking clearly," Costanzo said. "The easiest thing to do is to get out of the rip current. How do you get out of the rip current? You swim parallel to it."
If you strand too far in the water and can't get back, the first thing to do is relax.
"If you know you don't have enough gas in the tank to get back to where you started, you have to re-load. How do you re-load? You relax. How do you relax in the ocean? You lay on your back but first signal for help."
If you are a drowning victim or swallow a good amount of water...see a doctor right away.
"If you have any aspirations of fluid into your lungs, I recommend going to the emergency room or your primary care doctor," Costanzo said. "There's a certain degree of variability of how much you aspirated. The problem with salt water is due to the senility of it, when it gets into the lungs it draws fluids into the airspace."
When that happens he says it's called, "noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, and that can get you into trouble pretty quickly."
Here are some of the ways drowning's have affected the Jersey Shore recently:
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