Nearly one-third of Americans lack strong swimming skills – and as summer begins to blanket us in a heat wave, many will turn to water activities to escape. If you’re following me here, this means that hundreds of people with less-than-stellar swimming skills will end up in, on, or near water at some point in the next few months. In fact, according to a new national survey by The American Red Cross, just over 20% of Americans with water activities planned for this summer cannot swim well.
“Learning how to swim and maintaining constant supervision of those in or near the water are crucial elements of water safety,” says Dr. Peter Wernicki, chair, Aquatics Subcommittee of The American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. “As we head into the summer season, we urge families to make water safety a priority.”
The Red Cross has been a leader in aquatics training for more than 95 years and has developed a comprehensive aquatics training program, starting with Parent and Child Aquatics through to adult swim lessons. The Red Cross trainings have a strong focus on drowning prevention and water safety.
Water safety tips and information can be found on redcross.org, or you can sign up for a class in greater Columbus. For those who own pools and hot tubs, try our Home Pool Essentials online safety course.
Think you know your stuff? Try this quick quiz to test your water safety skills. Don’t worry, we’ll start out with an easy one.
How do you help someone struggling in deep water?
A: Go in and help them out of the water
B: Throw a rope or flotation device to them
Answer: B. 80% of adults knew better than to go into the water after a person struggling.
Which is safer to provide small child in the water:
A: a securely affixed flotation device
B: arm’s reach supervision
Answer: B. One-third of the survey respondents answered incorrectly. Water wings or floaties are not designed to keep a child’s face out of the water and can leak, slip off, and provide a false sense of security.
What should you do if caught in a strong current?
Answer: Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current and can move back to shore. 18% of survey respondents were unsure of what actions to take, and when told, 32% weren’t confident they could actually do it.
How many deaths by drowning does the USA average per day?
Answer: In 2007, there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) in the United States, averaging ten deaths per day. An additional 496 people died from drowning in boating-related incidents.
If any of these answers surprised you, or if you just feel like it’s time to strengthen your swimming skills (or those of a loved one!), follow the links provided above to contact us about signing up for classes today!