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Red Cross Issues Top Ten Ways to Be Safe When Swimming

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We have ten ways people can stay safe while enjoying the water.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC, August 6, 2015 — Even though summer may be coming to a close, water safety is important year-round in South Carolina. As people take their final summer vacations and start planning for Labor Day weekend, the American Red Cross is reminding everyone of ten steps they can take to be safe while by the pool, lake, or at the beach.

“The Red Cross wants everyone to have fun and return to school this fall, and we have ten ways people can stay safe while enjoying the water,” said Nanci Conley, executive director for the American Red Cross of Eastern SC.

  1. Learn to swim and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  2. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  3. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  4. Provide close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising.
  5. 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.
  6. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
  7. For a backyard pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a first aid kit, a cell phone, and life jackets.
  8. Secure backyard pools with appropriate barriers including four-sided fencing.
  9. Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child.
  10. If a child is missing, check the water first.

Every day, an average of 10 people die in the U.S. from unintentional drowning – and 1 in 5 of them are children 14 or younger, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drowning rate in Myrtle Beach is more than twice the national average, causing great concern among community and American Red Cross leaders. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children and fifth for people of all ages. In addition, for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

“We're asking every family to make sure that both adults and children in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee can swim and that parents make water safety a priority year-round,” said Conley. “A one-time class can provide the lifelong skill of knowing how to stay safe while swimming.”

More water safety information is available at redcross.org. People can find Red Cross swimming and water safety programs for their family by contacting their local aquatic facility or by going to redcross.org/takeaclass.

FREE FIRST AID APP The American Red Cross First Aid app is a free and easy way to get life-saving first aid instruction and disaster preparedness information anytime, anywhere. The app features simple step-by-step instructions for everyday first aid scenarios, including information for heart attacks, heat-related emergencies, and water safety information. The app can be downloaded from app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to redcross.org/apps.

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 www.redcross.org/sc or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossSC