New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - HEALTH & FAMILY -

Noth­ing beats cool­ing off with a swim in the ocean, lake, river or pool when the weather is hot. But it is ab­so­lutely cru­cial for you and your loved ones to do what­ever you can to be safe in the water.

Drown­ing is the third-high­est cause of ac­ci­den­tal death in New Zealand after mo­tor ac­ci­dents and falls, and last year 105 peo­ple lost their lives in the water. What’s re­ally tragic is that, ac­cord­ing to Water Safety New Zealand, most drown­ings and in­juries are pre­ventable.

The most com­mon cause of drown­ings in this coun­try last year was im­mer­sion in­ci­dents, in which vic­tims ended up in the water ac­ci­den­tally, fol­lowed by in­ci­dents while swim­ming. Here are some ways to cut the risk of drown­ing:

• If you can’t swim, learn – and get les­sons for fam­ily mem­bers who can’t swim ei­ther.

• Never un­der­es­ti­mate the water. Know your lim­its and don’t take risks, such as swim­ming a long way out from the shore or in rough con­di­tions. At beaches with life­guards, al­ways swim be­tween the flags and learn to recog­nise rips.

• Al­ways be at­ten­tive in the water. No­tice if you’re drift­ing fur­ther out to sea or along the beach, or if sea or weather con­di­tions have changed.

• Never swim after drink­ing al­co­hol, us­ing drugs or be­ing in­ca­pac­i­tated in any other way.

• Take heed of signs at beaches and other wa­ter­ways about dan­ger­ous con­di­tions and haz­ards. They are there for a rea­son.

• Al­ways wear a life jacket in a boat. Al­ways.

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