Be Water Smart

It’s International Water Safety Day

By Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer

May 15 is International Water Safety Day. The day is designed to spread awareness about drowning and promote water safety education. It is a timely reminder as summer approaches.

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Summertime brings warmer weather and outdoor fun. Children splash in community pools and water parks, families head to beaches and shorelines to enjoy boating, fishing and water sports, or travel to vacation destinations.

The water invites us to cool off and be carefree. Yet, every day, an average of 10 people die in the United States from unintentional drowning. And 1 in 5 of them are children 14 or younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Based on an American Red Cross survey, more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all the basic swimming skills. The Red Cross recommends that everyone learn critical water safety skills, also known as “water competency.” To download water safety tip sheets, visit RedCross.org/watersafety. 

Centennial Campaign: Helping Save Lives

In May 2014, the Red Cross launched its Centennial Campaign to mark 100 years of swimming safety education in the United States. This five-year campaign is aimed at reducing drowning in 50 communities where drowning rates exceed the national average. Since the Centennial Campaign launch, children and adults have participated in more than 41,340 sets of swim lessons.

Take Steps to Stay Safe

The Red Cross is asking every family to make sure that both adults and children can swim—and that parents make water safety a priority this summer. To find water orientation and Learn-to-Swim programs for you and your family, contact your local aquatic center and ask for American Red Cross swimming and water safety programs. Or visit RedCross.org/TakeAClass/swimming.

Do your part, be water smart. Then jump in, make some waves and have fun this summer!

 

 

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