Water safety

Water safety

  • Never let children play inside or around the pool without adult supervision, even if they can swim. 
  • Have multiple layers of safety such as a certified safety net, a fence with locked gate, supervision and a surface alarm around the pool/Jacuzzi. 
  • Remember that a child can drown in very shallow water and that fish ponds, open toilets or a bucket with water in is just as dangerous.
  • Read more about swimming lessons and their value here.

Beach tips from Netcare 911

  • Swim at beaches where lifeguards are on duty and keep in the area marked safe for swimming. 
  • Look out for danger signs indicating strong currents, sharks, dangerous sea life and contaminated water.
  • Remember that swimming in the ocean is very different from swimming in a pool. 
  • Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets or swimming aids.
  • Be careful not to dive into water where you cannot see the bottom. It is particularly dangerous to dive into the water headfirst as you could very easily injure your neck. 
  • Check the weather report before going to the beach. Be careful of lightening in particular and do not enter the water until at least 30 minutes after the thunder and lightening has stopped. 
  • Steer clear of the ocean if you notice a choppy current with murky water. 
  • If you get pulled out to sea, stay calm and save your energy. Allow the current to carry you for a while and then swim parallel to the shore until such time as you are out of the current. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are safe from the rip current. 
  • Do not be ashamed to call for help if you are in trouble. Anyone, even the best swimmers, can run into difficulties. Signal for a lifeguard by raising your arm as far out of the water as you can and to wave it around. 
  • Be mindful of the waves as they are great deal more powerful than you may think. Pay close attention to children and elderly people especially, as wave action can easily result in a loss of footing, even in shallow water. 
  • Stay sober at the beach as alcohol will not only impair your judgement, making you less careful, but it will also dehydrate you. 
  • Use sunscreen, wear a hat, use an umbrella or a tent for shade and cover yourself up during the hottest time of day, which is generally between 10:00 and 16:00. 
  • Do not make use of a floatation device such as an inflatable bed, boat, noodle and other items unless you can swim properly. If you do go boating ensure that the boat is safe and that you are wearing a lifejacket. Don’t go out so sea unless you have checked the weather conditions.
  • When fishing be careful of walking on slippery rocks and changes in the tide.
  • Save some emergency numbers on your cell phone prior to going to the beach, such as Netcare’s 082 911.

What to do in the event of drowning or near drowning

  • Make sure it is safe for you to enter the water and then get the victim out of the water as soon as possible.
  • Keep movement to the back and neck to a minimum.
  • Assess to see if the victim is awake by asking, “Hello can you hear me?�? 
  • Check for breathing by looking at the chest for no longer than 10 seconds. If the victim is not breathing or not breathing normally (i.e. gasping), call for immediate medical assistance.
  • Have someone call a recognised medical emergency service provider such as Netcare 911. 
  • Check for a pulse within 10 seconds, if no pulse can be found begin CPR immediately. If a definite pulse is felt provide rescue breaths (1 breath every 5 to 6 seconds).
  • CPR is vital, even if it is an amateur administering it. Keep on doing it until someone who is trained in advanced life support arrives and can take over.
  • All parents should learn how to administer child CPR as it differs from adult CPR.