The American Red Cross is joining its National Water Safety Month partners to stress the importance of constant, active adult supervision, along with ensuring that everyone learns about water safety and how to swim.
WATER SAFETY TIPS The following tips are layers of protection that will help people stay safe in, on and around the water:
- Do your part, be water smart! Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well.
- Adults: actively supervise children; stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. And kids: follow the rules.
- Don’t fool with a pool: fence it in. Enclose your pool and spa with four-sided, four-foot fencing and use self-closing, self-latching gates.
- Don’t just pack it; wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket – always when on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level. Inflatable children’s toys and water wings can be fun, but they are no substitute for a life jacket and adult supervision.
- Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair - everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards.
- Reach or throw, don't go! Know what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.
“Many fatal drownings happen when there is a lack of close supervision,” said Catherine Barry, national director of Aquatics for the Red Cross. “Designating a water watcher can help prevent a tragedy.” Children must be closely supervised wherever there is water, including the bathtub or a bucket of water, and even places where lifeguards are on duty. Parents and guardians should always designate a water watcher who is responsible for continually supervising children and adolescents swimming or playing in, on or around water for a specific period of time until the next water watcher takes over.
SWIM LESSONS Red Cross swim lessons help people develop skills and water safety behaviors that help them be more comfortable and safe when they are in, on and around the water. People can find age-appropriate water orientation and Learn-to-Swim programs for themselves and their family members by contacting their local aquatic facility and asking for Red Cross swimming and water safety programs, or by visiting redcross.org/takeaclass.
SWIM APP The Red Cross Swim App promotes water safety education and helps parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. The app has features specifically designed for children, including a variety of kid-friendly games, videos and quizzes. People can download the app for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in their app store or at redcross.org/apps.
HOME POOL ESSENTIALS COURSE The Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF) have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials (HomePoolEssentials.org) helps people understand the risks of pool ownership, 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.
Additional water safety tips and resources are available at redcross.org/watersafety.