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Water Safety Tips from our Resident Momma Doc and Former Lifeguard

wild island lazy riverIt’s summer time and it’s hot outside! What better way to beat the heat than in the local pool or at Wild Island? I can talk about this topic from two perspectives: one as a physician and another as a previous long time employee of the water park – I spent 9 summers of my adolescence and young-adulthood working there, and I saw and learned a lot during that time

First things first: water wings are NOT good flotation devices and pretty much should not be used in any setting. They can slip up around the forearms and actually hold the child under the water. (In fact, there is an entire RMB post dedicated to how Water Wings are the Devil.) If you are going to purchase a flotation device for your child to offer yourself some peace of mind while they play in the pool, make sure it is coast guard approved.

The average drowning victim is 7 years old, 4 feet tall and drowns in 4 feet of water, not usually the “deep end” as you might think. This brings me to my next point – just because your child has a life jacket on does not mean you can let them go play without any concern. We have seen kiddos struggle even with life jackets on and as a lifeguard we have had to help get these kids out of the water. It can be very traumatizing to them.

Also, sunscreen is really, really important and needs to be reapplied at least every 2 hours, especially when swimming. See my post last month on sunscreen for more details on this.

Water shoes are a really good idea – the pool bottoms are naturally sanded to prevent slips and falls and these can tear your kids feet up, and if they are in a pool that isn’t sanded these help with grip so they don’t fall getting in and out of the pool.

And finally, stay hydrated! It’s hot outside, and by the time you are thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Make sure you keep an eye on your kiddos and encourage them to drink water every hour that you’re outside, and more if they are active. Even if they’re swimming in the pool, they need to drink water, and it can sometimes be harder to keep tabs on how often they are going to the bathroom when they are in and out of the pool all day!

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About Amanda Magrini

Amanda Magrini
Amanda Magrini, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician at Northern Nevada Medical Group’s Los Altos location in Sparks. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno and her medical training at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Dr. Magrini has practiced family medicine for seven years, including residency, and enjoys her specialty, because she likes taking care of the whole family, from newborns to grandparents. She likes preventative medicine, helping people take care of themselves and the relationships she is able to form with her patients. Dr. Magrini grew up in Sparks, NV and likes that it is a safe place to live with great educational opportunities and beautiful scenery. She thinks Northern Nevada is a great place to raise a family and looks forward to raising her own children here. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, boating, running and traveling the world. Dr. Magrini is also very close with her family; she is married to her high school sweetheart and values spending time with him and the rest of her family. Disclosure: "The author is a licensed physician practicing with Northern Nevada Medical Group, but all opinions expressed are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Northern Nevada Medical Group or any other affiliates of Universal Health Services, Inc."

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