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Red Cross issues top 10 ways to be safe when swimming


July 2, 2014

NORTHEAST, PA — It’s almost time for the long Fourth of July weekend and many people will spend part of their holiday at a backyard or community pool. The American Red Cross is issuing 10 steps people should take to be safe while poolside.

A recent Red Cross survey found that eight out of ten Americans are planning water activities such as going to the beach, pool, water park, boating or fishing this summer. One third (32%) of all Americans plan to swim at a place without a lifeguard. The Red Cross has launched an anti-drowning campaign this summer that promotes swim lessons and safe swimming.

“The Red Cross wants everyone to have fun this Fourth of July weekend, and we have 10 ways people can stay safe while enjoying the water,” said Peter M. Brown, Regional CEO.

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 a.m. and 4 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 cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

8. Secure the backyard pool with appropriate barriers including four-sided fencing.

9. Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

10. Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water. If a child is missing, check the water first.

More water safety information is available at redcross.org.