The long Fourth of July weekend is a popular time for many people to spend part of their holiday at the beach, and the American Red Cross offers ten steps people should take to be safe while enjoying fun in the sand and surf.
A recent Red Cross survey found that eight out of ten Americans are planning water activities such as going to the beach, pool, water park or boating or fishing this summer. A third (32 percent) of all Americans plan to swim at a place without a lifeguard. The Red Cross has launched an anti-drowning campaign this summer that promotes swim lessons and safe swimming.
If a trip to the beach is part of someone’s holiday plans, the Red Cross has ten tips that will help beachgoers stay out of harm’s way and enjoy their holiday:
1. If someone plans to swim in the ocean, they should always check weather conditions before going in the water.
2. Swim only at a lifeguard protected beach, within the designated swimming area and listen to all lifeguard instructions.
3. Always swim with a buddy and always swim sober.
4. Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
5. Everyone should enter the water feet first if they can’t see the bottom or don’t know how deep the water is.
6. Be aware of the danger of rip currents. If caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. When free, turn and swim toward shore. If unable to swim to the shore, call out for help, float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
7. Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply often.
8. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
9. Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.
10. Wear beach shoes. The sand is hot and can burn someone’s feet and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.
FREE SWIM AND FIRST AID APPS Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross Swim and First Aid Apps. Swim App users can learn water safety and drowning prevention information for a variety of aquatic environments. Children can have fun learning water safety tips with the child-friendly videos and quizzes in the app. The First Aid App puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at someone’s fingertips. The apps are available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores. The Swim App is also available in the Amazon Kindle Store. More water safety information is available at redcross.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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.