The Stuff of Life or Death
Water is a wondrous element! It keeps us alive (we are made almost entirely of water), and it drives our environment, cools our brow, gives us rainbows, and waters our crops. Water is the stuff of life. It can also be the stuff of death and is due the utmost respect.
Water safety is at the forefront in the summertime because more people head to the beach or the pool. Both can be very dangerous. It only takes one to two inches to drown a child, so bathtubs, home pools, and even small buckets can be an instrument of death. Children have a different center of gravity than adults; if they bend over to check out a bucket of water and tip into it, they may not be able to get out by themselves. They are top heavy and often cannot find their footing. I have watched parents laughing while their toddler struggles in the baby pool; they think the child is swimming when, in actuality, they are drowning. It only takes minutes for tragedy to strike. No matter what time of the year, always watch your children when they are around water and teach them how to swim.
Adults are also at risk. Summer is the worst time by far as swimming and boating accidents occur all too often. People who cannot swim decide that wading into the Missouri River or the ocean or even boating is a good idea. A strong current or rip-tide can take their life. One step too far can take them from six inches of water to ten feet of water. Driving a motor boat or water skiing while drinking alcohol is really no different than drinking and driving. Alcohol dehydrates, dulls response time, and liberates the brain to make poor choices.
Diving accidents are tragic as well. It’s hot, and the cliff is there with the pool of water glistening below—let’s go for it. Unfortunately, the water is only three feet deep and is full of concrete pieces from a construction site nearby. If the head-first diver is not killed, he or she will most likely by paralyzed. Always jump feet first and KNOW what you are jumping into.
Water can kill in many different ways. An excellent conductor of electricity, water can make using a power tool on a rainy afternoon very dangerous. Finishing that last piece of decking is not that important. Having that radio or TV near the pool or hot tub is definitely not worth it. One little known fact is that people are killed in their shower or tub during lightening storms every year. The lightening hits the ground or house and travels the path of least resistance, which is a body of water.
Finally, water on the floor is the source of many injuries. The older you are, the more likely you are to break a bone. If you break a hip, your risk of dying increases two-fold.
Think about water safety every day. Be aware and watch your kids. Boat or swim safely with someone else in case trouble strikes. A cramp or storm can come up at anytime. Let’s keep water on the stuff of life side of the equation. Be Safe.