Red Cross says that eight out of ten Americans plan to take part in summer water activities like going to the beach, pool, water park, boating or fishing, a third of them at places without a lifeguard. With numbers like that, it’s important to spread the word about staying safe while enjoying time in the water. Red Cross’ Richard Woodruff joined Good Morning Utah with helpful advice and safety tips that can come in handy this summer beyond.
Here are the tips from the Red Cross:
- Learn to swim and only swim in designated areas ideally supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Provide close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising.
- 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.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
- For a backyard pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
- Secure the backyard pool with appropriate barriers including four-sided fencing.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- 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.
- This year, the American Red Cross continues their national campaign to reduce the drowning rate by 50 percent in 50 cities over the next three to five years.
Last year marked 100 years of swimming safety education for the Red Cross.
According to the Red Cross, a new national survey shows that people believe they are better swimmers than they actually are. While most Americans say they can swim, only about half of them can perform basic swimming skills.
Woodruff recommends downloading the free Red Cross Swim and First Aid Apps to help learn water safety and drowning prevention.
Head to redcross.org/utah for more safety resources and information.