Month: July 2013

Water Safety for You and the Kids

Summer is here finally (in the Northern Hemisphere) and we are so happy after a bitterly cold winter which forced me to buy more jackets than necessary. So now the weather is nice, occasionally disrupted by a heat wave that lasts for days.  I am sure that you have been out swimming in a pool, a lake, out in the sea by your favorite beach. It’s summer so water activities come to the forefront.

With that said, I think it’s time to tackle safety in any body of water.

I’m not trying to scare you but did you know that drowning is the second cause of death for children under 12 in the US? In many countries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children under 12. So what’s a child to do? Maybe don’t start swimming until they reach 13? Not realistic. Here’s another statistic (they are all from 90% of drowning occur in fresh water: lakes, ponds & pools and 10% in seawater. So the way to avoid it is to go swim in a sea or ocean to avoid drowning? Too idealistic, and here’s why:

Did you know that children can drown in bathtubs too? Most people think that drowning involves panicking and trashing in the water. It can happen but according to my source above – drowning itself is “quick and silent” and to the untrained eye it “can look similar to calm safe behavior.

SO how do you prevent drowning?

Learn how to swim. Ideally you should be able to swim freestyle, backstroke and dog paddle (swimming like a dog). stated that if you raise your hands above your head, your head will sink below the surface of the water. So don’t do that. Move your hands under the water in any way you can to raise your head above the water. Don’t panic or flail either. You may also kick with your feet or move your legs in the act of walking to keep you afloat. Using your legs will prevent your arms from tiring.

The objective in any drowning situation is to keep your head above water in order to be able to breathe. If you are in a bathtub and you start going under (sometimes bathtubs are too big for some children), push yourself with your legs and hands or grab something to help you bring your head out of the water. Hold your breath. Don’t panic because you can hold your breath for at least 20-60 seconds anyway.

Best thing to do is attend a water safety course given in your community. But if you don’t know how to swim, this summer is the time to learn it.

Here are a few more tips on water safety (mostly for children but may apply to adults too):

Don’t just jump in any water without checking the depth first. Water may look deep but it what if it’s not? Or there maybe structures under the water that’s not visible from looking at it from above the waterline.

Unless you swam across the English Channel already – do not underestimate the distance of where you are swimming to. Make sure you know your limits: How far can you swim? How long can you swim without getting too tired? This is important when you try to swim to a distant location.

Some beach areas are susceptible to strong currents. Even a strong swimmer cannot swim against the current. It’s like walking up a down escalator. You will get nowhere. Study the beach first; ask the locals and the lifeguard before you start swimming. Here’s what I read from one of the beach signs: If you notice that the current is taking you out to sea, don’t swim against it, instead swim parallel to the shore. After a few dozen feet you will reach an area unaffected by the current. Now you will be able to swim back to shore.

When you swim in the ocean, make sure there are no jellyfish, sea urchins or jagged corals on the bottom. If you are wading and can’t see the bottom, slowly drag your foot along the sea floor without putting any weight on it. Jellyfish are easy to spot and oftentimes dozens of them are in one area so they will be visible even in deep dark water.

Do not go swimming immediately after a meal. Is this one of those old wives tale? No! Your chances of cramping increases because your body is busy digesting so any hard effort like swimming may produce cramps. If you cramp while swimming, it may cause you to drown.

Always go swimming with an adult watching. Make sure that adult knows how to swim too just in case he or she has to save you.

Don’t go swimming in dark murky waters, or in slimy ones. It sounds adventurous and exciting but there may be bacteria present there that you are not accustomed to that could lead to illness.

And finally for parents: Do not teach your kid how to swim by dunking them in deep water. Hardly anyone learned how to swim that way. I had this experience and all I did is swallow a lot of sea water and gasp for air while water was coming in my nostrils. It sounds macho but very unsafe. I didn’t learn to swim that day. In fact I know of at least one person who is now a grandparent but  is afraid of dipping into anything deeper than waist deep water because she was also “taught” how to swim by getting dunked.

Have a safe day in the water!


Safety for Kids

When I was in one of the aircraft squadrons in the navy, our command was built around the following priorities: Safety First, Operational Commitments second and Good things for Good people third. It’s very tempting to talk about navy squadron life because it was a challenging and exciting life back then. But this post is about safety. I promise to tell you about exciting navy adventures in future posts to add a little fun to this blog.

So we are here to talk about safety. I will make this sound a bit more direct to the point. Safety covers a broad spectrum, so we will discuss basic safety things here that may happen when a child is away from home – in school, in a mall, in a park or anywhere outside the home.  This is written for a young pre-teen so it’s a bit more basic. James has a new iPad now so he can easily read my posts now. In case you don’t know who James is, please refer to the “Who are we” folder in the menu.

Also, some of the things I am discussing here may seem to be scary. Based on statistics which said that most people never encounter any violent events – the chances of these happening to the individual is slim. However, it’s always good to know that some bad people or things may be out there and we need to be aware that it’s there.

There are a few people out there who have the tendency to hurt other people physically. Maybe they are mentally sick or just plain bad people who think they will not get caught. Most of the time a person’s attitude or appearance will readily tell you that they are up to no good. You must avoid them.  For example: You see a person that’s very angry and shouting at people: try to avoid that person.

Here are the safety tips for children:

Memorize your home phone number, one or both of your parent’s phone numbers and the address of your home. This way, if you get left behind in a crowded mall, you can easily tell the police who to contact or where to drop you off. Even if you don’t get to use this skill, your relatives will be very impressed with your knowledge. Trust me.

If there is an emergency and you are in the United States, dial 9-1-1 in any phone and you will be connected to an emergency operator dispatcher. Tell them where you are and what is happening. If you get left behind in a crowded mall, that is an emergency.

Do not trust any stranger that wants to give you a ride in their car. A lot of people get kidnapped this way.

If a person, man or woman – try to convince you to ride in their car in exchange for a candy bar or any promise – do not go with them. Do not appear like you are unsure of your decision. Say NO and leave immediately.

Sometime they will trick you by saying that your Mom or Dad asked them to pick you up from school. Do not believe them. If your Mom and Dad wants you to be picked up, they will ask your Aunt or Uncle or Grandma or Grandpa or their friends (that you have met before) to pick you up. They will never ask a stranger to pick you up from school or from anywhere. Do not engage the stranger in the conversation. Start running.

If someone tries to force you to get inside their car, get away quickly as fast as possible. Then start running while screaming to attract attention. If they try to grab you, twist your body one way or the other to escape their grasp. No matter how much your weight or how tall you are, kidnappers will have a hard time if you fight back which could mean you will be able to escape easily. Screaming very loud will also attract attention of other people who may be able to help you.

Try to maintain a healthy and fit body. A healthy and fit body along with an alert mind gives you an advantage in a dangerous situation.

Do not stay in a parked car without an adult to watch over you. If the adult tries to leave you even for a minute so they can get milk from a convenience store, ask and insist that you go with them. Sometimes, a carjacker steals a car and inside a car is a baby or a child left behind by the unsuspecting parent. You do not want to be that child.

These are only a few of safety tips I could come up with at this point. Ask your parents, brothers or sisters for other safety tips. This knowledge should help you in case you experience this situation. Ask your parents, grandparents and other relatives to pray for your safety also. God’s protection is the best protection.

Be safe out there!



Avoiding Stress

Our lives are affected by two factors: things that we have control and things that we don’t have control. In order to live a healthy and happy life, we must take control of those things that are under our control. For the things we can’t control – we have to develop the flexibility to adapt so we don’t live a stressful life.

This post is more about the things we can control. Sometimes we know we have choices on matters but we pick the wrong decision. My hope is to be able to clarify some things and maybe help you make better health decisions.

To live a good life, safety should be our priority. Don’t take unnecessary risks if all the reward it will give you is temporary bragging rights. Example: If you are new to mountain biking – don’t go charging down an unfamiliar downhill section. A lot of people get injured, sometimes up to the point of being paralyzed. Example 2: Don’t hang around an area known for muggings even if you have several friends with you. I remember one time a dozen guys went to a sleazy district thinking they have safety in numbers. About three dozen guys surrounded them and beat them up and took their money.

Nutrition plays a vital role in our ability to handle stress. This can be done by eating healthy most of the time. Weekends may be reserved for eating what you really like to eat. However, during weekdays, make the choice of eating smaller portions or more fruits and vegetables and less meat. If you are not a vegetarian: fish, chicken, lamb and beef are good choices. Eat more fish or chicken than beef or lamb. Avoid pork totally. If you do a little research (isn’t Google great?), you will find out that pork carries some organisms that cannot be killed by washing, vinegar or even high temperature. Those organisms cause damage to your body.

Work out a few times a week. You don’t have to do a maximum heart rate workout either. Any workout between 60 – 80% of your maximum heart rate is helpful to your body. What is your maximum heart rate? You have to ask your doctor about this. You can Google it but you really need to check with your doctor first. Exercise helps you to better cope with daily stressors.

Plan your week and follow your schedule. Factor in contingencies to your schedule. For example, if you have an important meeting at 9:00 am. Plan it backwards: leave house at 8:20am (including a 10 minute contingency for heavy traffic), prepare documents for the meeting at 8:00am, eat breakfast at 7:40am, and shower at 7:10am, Wake up at 7:00am.

Try working deliberately slower. You’ll find out that your work will be more accurate than usual. Even if you work at 90% of your previous pace, you will notice that things get done correctly, and you save time by not going back and correcting it over and over.

Don’t take on too many projects at one time. I know sometimes this is unavoidable. However, it will be your health that will suffer. When your health suffers, your work or project will suffer too. Ask your supervisor or teacher if you are a student if you can have an extension of the deadline or taking less tasks or projects.

Break down your project into smaller steps or phases. A big project can be overwhelming but not if it’s broken down into small steps. Someone said “A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step”. You get the idea now.

Avoid people who cause stress. In a school or office or organization, there is one or a few obnoxious or negative people. Avoid them. You will only get negative vibes or unnecessary fatigue in dealing with them.

Finally, do your best in everything that you commit to. Approach your work with diligence and 100% effort in planning, organizing and executing your work. By putting your best effort, you avoid delays and distractions – and therefore avoid getting stressed.

Have a relaxing rest of the day!