The long Fourth of July weekend is here and many people will spend part of their holiday at a backyard or community pool. The American Red Cross is issuing ten 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, or boating or fishing this summer. A third (32 percent) 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 Fourth of July weekend is a time of fun and celebration,” said Kathleen Weis, Chief Executive Officer for the Red Cross Capital Region. “Knowing how to keep you and your loved ones safe around the water will help minimize risks and ensure an enjoyable holiday.”
The Red Cross offers the following tips for safe swimming and water activities:
- Learn to swim and only swim in designated areas 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 jacketsaround 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.
FREE SWIM AND FIRST AID APPS Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross Swim and First Aid Apps. Swim App users can learn water safety and drowning prevention information for a variety of aquatic environments. Children can have fun learning water safety tips with the child-friendly videos and quizzes in the app. The First Aid App puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at someone’s fingertips. The apps are available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores. The Swim App is also available in the Amazon Kindle Store.
HOME POOL ESSENTIALS The Red Cross and National SwimmingPool Foundation have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials (HomePoolEssentials.org) helps people understand the risks of pool ownership, how to maintain a safer and cleaner pool, what safety equipment is appropriate, how to prevent pool and hot tub entrapment hazards and how to respond to an emergency.
More water safety information is available at redcross.org.