Did you know that over half of American either can’t swim? Before you take a dive this summer, make sure you and those around you are ready for the water.
The American Red Cross suggests the following in order to ensure safety at the pool.
- Children and adults should be able to perform all five steps of water competency. Please do not test your own or anyone else’s skills! Have a competent person, such as a swim instructor or lifeguard, do the testing. If you can’t demonstrate these skills, look for Red Cross Learn-to-Swim classes The skills, performed in a sequence, include being able to:
1. Step or jump into the water over your head.
2. Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute.
3. Turn around in a full circle and find an exit.
4. Swim 25 yards to the exit.
5. Exit from the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.
- Adults: actively supervise children. And kids: follow the rules!
- 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. 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.The Red Cross offers both swimming and water safety programs that can help you, your family and friends be prepared for the water, including help with basic skills to help someone in trouble, such as CPR. Red Cross also offers safety courses online to help pool and hot tub owners. You can find these courses at http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/swimming