Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society urges caution, training for swimmers

Massachusetts Medical Society urges caution, training for swimmers

The summer heat has brought with it a concerning spate of water-related tragedies and accidents with near-tragic outcomes involving children and adults across Massachusetts.

The physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) urge those choosing to cool off in lakes, ponds, oceans, or pools to exercise caution and be hyper-vigilant about safety.

Parents and guardians should never leave children unsupervised in any depth of water, even if the child is a competent swimmer or there is a lifeguard on duty. 

When monitoring children in the water, it is imperative that the adult supervisor be attentive. It is also strongly encouraged to designate one specific person to watch swimmers for a specified period. That person should focus 100 percent of their attention on that responsibility. Do not leave the area or get distracted by things like phones or books. Drownings can occur in an instant, and often the victim struggles silently, and does not scream, yell or otherwise signal distress.

Do not swim or supervise swimmers while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you own a pool or are visiting a home with a pool, be certain that all local safety guidelines are adhered to, especially measures that ensure children cannot gain access to an unattended pool. Always keep the pool gate closed and enforce no horseplay or running in the pool area rules.

Additionally, we strongly suggest that both children and adults take classes in swimming at a location such as a local YMCA or via the Massachusetts Department of Conservation at Recreation’s (DCR) free swim classes being offered at DCR-run pools throughout the state.  Finally, please consider learning CPR or refreshing your certification to perform CPR.

-Carole E. Allen, MD, MBA, FAAP, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

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