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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Injury Prevention
- Swimming Safety - Cold Water

Cold water is dangerous even if you are a good swimmer, because it reduces endurance, impairs judgment and causes muscle cramps.



Factors affecting how you respond to cold water include:

  • Length of time in water

  • Water temperature

  • Amount of body fat

  • Amount of body submerged

  • Whether clothing or lifejacket/PFD is worn

  • Body position

  • Age

Be ready for cold water. Canadian lakes, even in summer, rob the body of heat 25 times faster than air of the same temperature. If you fall in, get as much of your body out of the water as quickly as you can. If unable to, use a heat escape method as outlined below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huddle Position

If alone, the H.E.L.P. position can be used to decrease the amount of body heat lost to water

Here's how:

  • Hold you knees tightly together and to your chest
  • Squeeze your arms against the sides of your trunk







OR

Huddle Position:

  • Used in groups of 2 to 4 people
  • Face each other with arms interlocked to form a ring of people
  • Press your own legs together
  • Children can be placed in the centre of the ring
  • Do not try to swim to "warm up". This will lead to faster heat loss.




Reference:


Life Saving Society - Life Saving Manual, 1994




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