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Summer Water Safety Tips from the American Red Cross

Red Cross - Desert to the Sea Region - Kids in Pool
We're asking every family to make sure that both adults and children can swim and that parents make water safety a priority.

SANTA ANA, CALIF. June 25, 2015 — Summertime is here, and thousands of Orange County residents will head to beaches and pools this season. Unfortunately, the summer months are also synonymous with an increase in drowning and swimming accidents.

The American Red Cross Serving Orange County is encouraging residents to be prepared and stay safe this summer. “We're asking every family to make sure that both adults and children can swim and that parents make water safety a priority,” said Janet Whitcomb, interim regional chief executive officer at the American Red Cross Serving Orange County.

Every day in the U.S., an average of 10 people die from unintentional drowning – and one in five of them are children 14 or younger, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Be safe at the beach and the pool this summer with the following tips:

Water Safety

  • If you’re heading to the beach, check weather and water conditions beforehand and throughout the day. If swimming in the ocean, be especially aware of areas with strong rip currents.
  • Whether at the beach or pool, always swim with a buddy.
  • Avoid distractions. Provide constant, active supervision to children in or near the water. This means always staying within arm’s reach of young children.
  • Remember that floating devices, such as water wings, should complement adult supervision, not replace it. Water wings only keep a child’s arms, not face, out of the water. Plus, they can shift position, loose air, or slip out from underneath the child.
  • Place barriers or fences around your pool area. 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.
  • Drowning Prevention

  • Know how to spot a swimmer in distress. If not helped, a swimmer in distress will soon become a drowning victim.
  • A swimmer in distress may still try to swim but makes little or no forward progress.
  • An active drowning victim may be vertical in the water but unable to move forward or tread water. They may try to press down with the arms at the side in an instinctive attempt to keep the head above the water.
  • Do not assume that a swimmer in distress is joking or playing around.
  • Be Ready to Respond

  • If someone is missing, check the water first. Every second counts in preventing death or disability.
  • If you encounter a drowning victim, remember three things: check, call, care. First, check the scene for safety and check the victim for consciousness and breathing. If the victim is unresponsive, call 9-1-1 immediately, and provide CPR if they are not breathing.
  • Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn what to do in the event of an emergency.
  • “Summer is the perfect time to enroll children in Red Cross swim lessons, the first step in practicing water safety,” said Whitcomb. “The Red Cross created the first national water safety program in the U.S. – and today it’s still the gold standard, training more than two million people annually.”

    Red Cross swimming lessons help people develop skills and water safety behaviors that help people be more comfortable and safe when they are in, on and around the water. The Red Cross encourages all household members to enroll in age-appropriate water orientation and Learn-to-Swim programs. To find classes for your family, contact your local aquatic facility and ask for American Red Cross swimming and water safety programs, or visit redcross.org/oc.

    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/oc or visit us on Twitter at @OCRedCross.