The American Red Cross has been teaching children and adults to swim and to become life guards for the past 100 years. This year, as a part of their centennial celebration, they established a program to teach 50,000 people from 50 cities across 19 states how to swim. How about you and your family? Are you water competent? A new national survey, conducted by Red Cross, found that only 56% of self-described swimmers could perform all five basic swimming skills that might save their life. The water safety skills include:
- Step or jump into water that’s over your head.
- Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute.
- Turn around in a full circle in the water looking for an exit.
- Swim 25 yards to the exit.
- Exit from the water. If you’re in a pool, can you exit without using the ladder?
How to Prevent Drowning
The Survival Doctor includes these six suggestions to prevent someone (including yourself) from drowning.
- Take a class and learn to swim well. Same for your children.
- If you’re in a boat, wear a life preserver. 88% of people who drown aren’t wearing one. All youth under age 13 are required by law to wear one.
- Don’t drink alcohol if you’re swimming or driving a boat. Seventy percent who drown were drinking.
- Never swim alone.
- Never depend on toy flotation devices for safety.
- Make sure your children know this. Always supervise children. Even then, many who drown have only been out of their parents’ sight for a few minutes.
If you see a child drowning and can swim, go pull them out. If you see a conscious adult struggling in the water, call for help. If you’re alone, get a pole, stick, oar, or rope. Throw it and urge them to grab on. Don’t let them grab you. You will both go down.
Billie Nicholson, editor
Other articles included in the August 2014 Newsletter are: