Water Safety for People with Disabilities

 

Enjoying activities in and around water is something that many people enjoy. Swimming, boating, fishing, or even just wading through the waves can make for a fun day. However, everyone must take precautions when they are around water. This is especially true when you have a disability.  

 

Water can be dangerous, even very shallow water. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that you can drown in as little as one inch of water. To avoid these terrible mishaps, everyone should take the time to review the following questions.  

 

What Is Your Comfort Level Around Water?  

 

Understanding your comfort level will let you know what exactly you can do to remain safe. This also applies to helping someone with a disability enjoy water recreation. Know their level of comfort and know your level of comfort concerning assisting them. This is crucial to safety.  

 

Know Your Safety Equipment  

 

Do you know that there are different types of safety equipment for different types of water levels and activities? Make sure that you have the right life jackets and equipment for your event. Make sure that all flotation devices properly fit the person they were intended for prior to going out on the water.  

 

Water Level Tolerance  

 

Do not exceed your water level tolerance. If you are new to water activities, make sure that you go slowly through each level of water to see how you feel. First, you go ankle deep and then knee deep; next, waist deep, shoulder deep and, lastly, over your head. Stop at any level that makes you feel uncomfortable.  

 

Wear the Right Clothing  

 

Waterlogged clothing can become very heavy and lead to complications. It is very important that you have the right clothing on for water activities. There are many types of swimwear that you can purchase, including full-bodied suits for those going into colder waters. If you are in regular clothes, make sure that they are light clothing and breathable. This will keep excessive water from being absorbed if the clothes get wet.  

 

Sun Protection  

 

Many people forget that when the sun reflects off of the top of the water that the UV rays become more intensified. This means that when you are around water in any way, your chances for getting a sunburn are even higher. Make sure that you have sunscreen and apply it often and that you have a hat and sunglasses for extra protection.

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