May is Trauma Awareness Month, and with summer just ahead, Lake Regional Health System wants residents and visitors thinking about water safety.
“The Lake Regional Emergency Department is a state-designated Level III Trauma Center, and every summer, we see a wide range of traumatic injuries related to water — from boating accidents to slips and falls on docks,” said Sherrie Williams, R.N., nurse coordinator for Lake Regional Health System’s Trauma program. “Many of these injuries are life-changing, some are fatal, and most could be prevented by following simple safety rules.”
What can you do to help keep your family safe while still enjoying water? Here are some tips:
- If you’re taking people out in a boat or on a PWC, make sure that everyone wears a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Don’t confuse toys with safety devices. Water wings, noodles and the like are for fun — not safety. Don’t use them in place of life jackets.
- Always have a sober driver — on the road and the water.
- Never jump or dive into rivers or lakes. “Lake Regional has seen a surge in cliff jumping injuries the past couple of summers,” Williams said. “The jump might look safe, but bad landings and hidden dangers have tragic consequences every summer.”
- Never, ever leave children unsupervised near water — not even for a few seconds.
- Be aware that slips and falls are a leading cause of injuries. Watch for trip hazards on docks and around pools, and always be careful getting in and out of boats.
- Wear neoprene shorts when riding a PWC, tubing or skiing. “Trust us on this one,” Williams said. “The injuries that happen when there’s no neoprene protection are devastating.”
- Complete a thorough checkup of your dock’s electrical systems. “Or even better, hire an expert to do the inspection,” Williams said.
- Get trained in performing CPR.
If something does go wrong, know medical help is near. As a Level III Trauma Center, Lake Regional has acute care and trauma surgeons on call 24/7. All of the Emergency Department physicians, physician assistants and nurses complete annual trauma education and maintain trauma-specific certification. In addition, Lake Regional’s Intensive Care Unit nurses maintain a trauma-specific certification and also complete annual trauma education.
“If it’s a minor injury, a trip to Express Care might be all that’s needed, and if it’s serious, the team at Lake Regional Emergency Department is here 24/7, ready to help,” Williams said.
To learn more, visit lakeregional.com/Emergency.