Summer is here and for many of us, that means lots of time in and around the water. Join the Red Cross in keeping vigilant watch over our family, friends and neighbors this summer - and for life. The following tips are layers of protection that will help people stay safe in and around the water:
• Do your part, be water smart! Ensure that all family members learn to swim well.
o Children and adults should be able to perform all five steps of water competency. If you can’t, look for Red Cross Learn-to-Swim classes.
• 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 on a boat and if you are in a situation beyond your skill level.
o 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 getting yourself in danger; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.
People across the country can take steps now to become competent swimmers and make sure their children learn to swim. We're asking every family to make sure that both adults and children can swim and that parents make water safety a priority this summer.
• Adults need to know how to be safe in the water before they can protect their children and can take a Red Cross swim course designed for adults. Just as importantly, parents should learn about water safety and know how to respond to a water emergency.
• Swimmers who want to help protect lives can think about becoming a lifeguard or a swim instructor.
• To find classes for your family, contact your local aquatic facility and ask for American Red Cross swimming.
I hope you all have a fun and safe summer!