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Summer 2010: Swimming and Safety Go Hand in Hand


Summer has officially begun, and with it comes visions of enjoying a day at the pool—swimming, catching some rays or just relaxing. The American Red Cross has some things you can do to stay safe while enjoying the water.

Learn to Swim The best way to safely enjoy the water is to learn how to swim. The Red Cross swimming and water safety program is set up to teach everyone—children to adults—how to swim.

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.

Contact your local Red Cross chapter to find out which aquatic facilities in your area offer Red Cross swimming and water safety courses.

Swimming Pool Safety According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 300 children under the age of five drown every year in home and public pools and spas. Whether you’re enjoying a recreational swim or playing water sports, you need to know how to be safe in, on and around the water.

You should never leave children unattended near the water, not even for a moment. Practice reach supervision—being within an arm’s length when the child is near the water. Even older children need supervision and should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices when they’re in or around the water.

Make sure the proper lifesaving gear is handy, such as ring buoys, life jackets, rope, a pole or another object that can be used if someone is in trouble in the water. A first aid kit, cordless phone and emergency contact information should also be kept near the pool.

The American Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF) have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials helps you understand the risks of pool ownership, teaching you how to maintain a safer and cleaner pool, what safety equipment is appropriate, how to prevent pool and hot tub entrapment hazards, and how to respond to an emergency.

So, whether it’s perfecting your breast stroke or just playing with the kids, follow these steps to be safe around the pool this summer. If you want to learn more, visit the water safety section of redcross.org.

Register Now for Home Pool Essentials!