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Red Cross and CPSC Urge Public To Practice Water Safety


With nearly 125 drownings and near-drowning incidents since Memorial Day, the American Red Cross is joining the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign calling for added vigilance at swimming pools and spas this Fourth of July weekend and throughout the summer

The CPSC notes that there have been 48 drownings and 75 near-drownings in 35 states and territories just since Memorial Day, The pool safety campaign kickoff comes just before the busy three-day July 4th holiday weekend.

A national summer water survey1 done by the Red Cross in April showed that nearly eight out of ten households plan to participate in at least one water-related recreational activity this summer. Swimming in a pool or lake tops the list of water fun, followed by such activities as boating, water skiing, jet skiing or fishing. More than 40 percent plan to enjoy the water in an area with no lifeguard protection.

“Many households will be participating in water-related activities this summer where adults will be responsible for supervising children,” said Connie Harvey, Manager of Aquatics Programs for the Red Cross. “Our recent water safety survey found that 21 percent of these adults have weak or non-existent swimming skills. People need to make water safety a priority, learn how to swim well and know what to do in an emergency.”

The national survey of more than 1,000 adults also found that:

  • 45 percent intend to swim in their own pool or someone else’s home pool;
  • One-third of the survey respondents (32 percent) mistakenly believe that having a child wear water wings or floaties is safer than providing arm’s reach supervision; and
  • 38 percent recalled an experience in which someone in deep water needed help.

Whether you’re taking a dip in the pool or enjoying a day at the beach, the Red Cross wants you to be safe. Ideally, you should learn to swim before enjoying the water. Here are some steps you can take to enjoy your summer water fun.

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Enroll in Red Cross water safety and first aid and CPR courses to learn how to respond.

With children, constant supervision is key. Keep them in your line of sight at all times when enjoying the pool. Other steps you can take include:

  • Securing the pool with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.

1 Details: Telephone survey of 1,085 U.S. Adults 18 years and older on April 7-11, 2011, conducted by ORC International. Margin of error is +/- 3.0 percent at the 95% confidence level. Polling included total sample of 175 African-American adults, with 82 included through a second wave of telephone interviews. Where appropriate, comparison values from a March 2009 poll have been included: Telephone survey of 1,002 U.S. adults 18 years and older on March 20-23, 2009, conducted by CARAVAN® Opinion Research Corporation. Margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95% confidence level.

About CPSC: CPSC is an independent federal regulatory agency created by Congress in 1972 “to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products.” The Pool Safely campaign is CPSC’s national information and education program associated with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act). The Pool Safely campaign is designed to raise public awareness about drowning and entrapment prevention, support industry compliance with safety standards, and improve safety at pools and spas. The Pool Safely campaign is proud to partner with leading organizations, including Abbey's Hope, American Red Cross, Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), Infant Swimming Resource, National Aquatic Safety Company (NASCO), National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA), National Swimming Pool Foundation, Safe Kids USA, United States Swim School Association, USA Swimming Foundation, World Waterpark Association (WWA), and The YMCA of the USA. For more information, visit the website at PoolSafely.gov and follow the campaign on Twitter @poolsafely.