American Red Cross offers advice for water-related activities this summer

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Press release from the American Red Cross:

American Red Cross Offers Advice for Water-related Activities this Summer
Over 70 percent of Americans Plan Activities around the Water this Season

(June 7, 2010) – The weather is getting warmer, the end of the school year is nearly here, and thoughts are turning to a summer of fun in the water. The American Red Cross urges everyone to learn how to swim and to learn water safety skills that could help save a life. According to a recent Red Cross survey, more than 70 percent of those contacted are planning to participate in water-related activities this summer. Almost half of parents with children, between the ages of 3 and 17, plan to enjoy the water in an area where no lifeguard will be on duty.

“While we all look forward to a summer of fun with our family and friends, it’s important to remember that most water-related accidents can be avoided by knowing how to stay safe and following a few simple guidelines,” says Erin McDonald, Director of Health & Safety Services at the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana. “Everyone should know how to swim well. We can help families stay safe by teaching skills through our swimming and water safety programs that teach children and adults to learn how to swim skillfully and safely.”

The survey also found that nearly one in three parents believes that “floaties” are an okay substitute for proper supervision. The Red Cross stresses that this is not the case and that “floaties” do not replace a trained adult actively watching over the water activities.

The Red Cross is urging your family to stay safe this summer with these few simple tips:

  • Learn to swim well. Contact the Red Cross for information on learning how to swim—nearly 2 million people learn to swim each year with Red Cross programs.
  • Never leave children unattended near water—not even for a moment! Adults should practice “reach supervision,” which means always to be within arm’s length when a young child is near water. For older children-even adults-who are not strong swimmers, practice “active” or constant supervision and make sure they wear U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) whenever in or around the water.
  • Know how to respond to an emergency. You should know how to tell if a swimmer is in distress or is drowning and how and when to call for emergency help. You should also learn how to help someone in trouble in water while keeping safe yourself. Do not create a situation where you become a victim as well. Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid, and CPR courses to learn what to do.
  • Keep lifesaving gear handy. Always have on hand a ring buoy, life jacket, rope, pole or other object that can be used to help a person in trouble. Remember to have a first aid kit, cordless phone, and emergency contact information by the pool.
  • Know when it’s too dangerous. If you, or someone you are swimming with, appear to be too cold, too far from safety, been exposed to too much sun or had too much strenuous activity, it is time to head for shore or signal for help.
  • Eliminate temptation. Backyard pools should have self-closing, self-latching gates that remain locked when the pool is not being used. Kiddie pools should be emptied and toys removed immediately after use. Empty water pales and buckets so small children cannot fall in and drown.
  • Know what you’re getting into. Check local conditions that could be dangerous before entering open bodies of water.

For more information on Red Cross water safety, first aid, and CPR classes, contact the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana at (260) 484.9336 ext. 240 or visit

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