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!

 

 

Fourth of July Safety Tips

Happy Independence Day!Founders
Northeast Ohioans can expect a gorgeous Holiday weekend and many are expected to celebrate at a backyard party or poolside.

Whatever way you chose to enjoy yourself during the party weekend of the summer, be sure to keep these simple, safety tips in mind.

Soak Up the Sun, Safely:

Keep your skin safe by wearing sunscreen outdoors, even if it is partly sunny. But how exactly does sunscreen work? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most sun protection products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. All products do not have the same ingredients so if you have a bad skin reaction to one brand, try another.

Know your sunscreen’s rating. All sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) number clearly stated on their label. The SPF number illustrates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. Look for sunscreen with at least a rating of SPF 15. This number applies to cosmetics that contain sunscreen as well. And be sure to check out your label’s directions regarding reapplication. Most brands recommend reapplying after two hours or after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

Sunscreen does have a shelf life! Check your sunscreen’s expiration date. If it is expired, or you’ve had it for three years, throw it out and purchase new.

Take Water Seriously:

Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water, even if you are not “thirsty”. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages in excess.

Use the buddy system when swimming. No one should swim alone. Adults should pay close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.

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.

Backyard Pool Owners can take the Home Pool Essentials online course. The Red Cross and National Swimming Pool 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.

For more water safety information check out redcross.org.

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