By Sue Wilson, American Red Cross volunteer and former nine- year board member
As warm weather arrives in our area after a long winter, many are anxious to get in and enjoy the many natural water resources Northeast Ohio is fortunate to have, from magnificent Lake Erie and its islands, to the beautiful Cuyahoga River. In the Akron area, thousands enjoy boating, swimming and water skiing on the Portage Lakes in additional to local ponds, lakes and pools. It is crucial that adults and children are committed to water safety and take precautions as they prepare for a summer of water fun.
May 15th is International Water Safety Day, and the American Red Cross encourages you to “do your part, be water smart.” The goal of Water Safety Day is to spread awareness of the ongoing drowning pandemic in the United States and around the world, and educate people to be safe in and around water. Among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children one to four years old. But people of all ages can drown in all kinds of situations.
Here are some water smart safety tips to get ready for summer fun:
- Talk to your family, and all adult caregivers, about the importance of water safety and commit to safety rules. Take the Pool Safely Pledge and share it on your social media. Use the hashtags #PledgeItOn and #IWSD. Challenge your friends and family to join you and take the pledge as well.
- Download the Red Cross Swim App for a variety of kid-friendly games, videos and quizzes. Water safety information for parents for a variety of aquatic environments (waterpark, pool, beach, lake) is also included as well as a progress-checker for swim lessons.
- Learn to swim. People can find age-appropriate water orientation and Learn-to-Swim programs for themselves and their family members by contacting their local aquatic facility and asking for American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety programs, or by visiting redcross.org/watersafety.
Water safety goes beyond the outdoors. International Water Safety Day is a good time to think about water safety around the house, too:
- Watch kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted.
- Empty all tubs, buckets, containers and kiddie pools immediately after use.
- Close toilet lids and use toilet seat locks to prevent drowning.
- Install fences around home pools.
- Know what to do in an emergency. Take a CPR or First Aid Class through your local Red Cross.
Find more water safety tips here.
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer