Red Cross encourages swimming safety

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

With summer quickly approaching, many parents are concerned about swimming safety for their children. The American Red Cross has provided many outlets to avoid aquatics danger and still have fun swimming throughout the summer months.

Individuals at the highest statistical risk of drowning are toddlers under five and young adults from the ages of 15 to 24. Children under five most often drown in home pools.

In order to avoid these tragedies, the American Red Cross strongly advises supervising children around any water source, including bathtubs, kiddie pools and buckets of water, and to always keep young children within arm's reach while they are swimming.

In addition, never rely on life vests, flotation devices or inflatable toys of any kind to protect a child from drowning. These devices can shift position or loose air, leaving a child stranded.

Also, prohibit access to any water source, such as a pond or waterfall, which would endanger the child, and empty kiddie pools immediately after use. Kiddie pools are often regarded as harmless, and not a drowning hazard, but in fact they can be very dangerous for an unsupervised child to play in.

The American Red Cross states, "The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in, on and around water is to learn to swim." Teaching a child to swim at an early age can reduce the risk of drowning and prevent many swimming activities from ending in tragedy.

"The American Red Cross encourages parents to make water safety a priority and recommends that people learn to swim and how to be safe in, on and around the water," said K. Nigel Holderby, chief communications officer for the American Red Cross. "Teach children never to go near water without an adult, and always designate a responsible adult to actively supervise children at all time."

Likewise, watch out for the "dangerous toos" when swimming. These are: too tired, too cold, too far away from safety and too much strenuous activity. These are the four main signals to exit the water as quickly as possible and rest. When not taken seriously, the "dangerous toos" can result in serious injury or drowning.

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