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Be Safe in the Water with the Red Cross

Water Safety
Children younger than age 5 represent about 76 percent of pool and spa drowning deaths.

Summer weather is here, and with it comes relaxing days at the pool, lake and beach. To keep your time around the water safe and enjoyable, the American Red Cross has important tips for you to follow.

Learn to Swim

The best way to safely enjoy the water is to learn how to swim, so enroll your family in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses. Basic water safety rules are also part of the course. You will learn how to tell if a swimmer is in distress or is drowning, and how and when to call for emergency help. You will also learn how to help someone in trouble in the water while keeping safe yourself.

To find classes for you and your family, contact your local aquatic facility and ask for American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim programs.

Top Water Safety Tips

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, children younger than age 5 represent about 76 percent of pool and spa drowning deaths and 78 percent of pool and spa injuries treated in emergency rooms in the United States. Government data also shows that African-American and Hispanic children between the ages of 5 and 14 are at a high risk of drowning.

A Red Cross water safety poll released last month showed that nearly half of Americans say they’ve had an experience where they were afraid they might drown, yet more than half of Americans plan on engaging in behaviors that put them at risk of future drownings when they take to the water this summer.

Members of the Aquatic Sub-Council, part of the Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, have developed the Circle of Drowning Prevention and Chain of Drowning Survival to raise awareness of the most important steps that Americans can take to reduce the number of preventable drownings.

The Circle of Drowning Prevention shows the layers of protection that can help prevent potential drownings: provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water; fence pools and spas with adequate barriers, including four-sided fencing; learn swimming and water survival skills; children, inexperienced swimmers and boaters should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets; and always swim in a lifeguarded area.

The Chain of Drowning Survival illustrates the steps you should take when you spot someone in distress in the water: recognize the signs of someone in trouble and shout for help; rescue and remove the person from the water without putting yourself in danger; call emergency medical services; begin rescue breathing and CPR, and use an AED if available; and transfer care to advanced life support, if needed.

You can find much more water safety information on redcross.org.

For those with their own home pools and hot tubs, the Red Cross offers Home Pool Essentials™: Maintenance and Safety, an online safety course. Jointly developed by the Red Cross and the National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF), the course teaches home pool owners the basics of pool and hot tub maintenance along with strategies for creating a safer environment. To register, go to homepoolessentials.org.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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