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Red Cross Urges Water Safety This Holiday Weekend to Prevent Drowning

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
The following information was sent in by Abigail Adams, Director of Communications at American Red Cross in Westchester County--

This year marks 100 years of swimming safety education for the Red Cross. 

A survey was conducted for the Red Cross to determine swimming abilities and comfort levels in the water. Although a lot of people may think they know how to swim only about half can perform basic skills.   

Red Cross is committed to reducing drowning rates across the country. Our survey highlights the need for people across the country to take steps now to become more comfortable around the water and become competent swimmers and make get their children learn to swim.

The national survey conducted for the Red Cross found that while 80
percent of Americans said they could swim, only 56 percent of the
self-described swimmers can perform all five of the basic skills for
swimming ability.

These critical water safety skills, also known as "water competency," are:
  • Step or jump into the water over your head
  • Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute
  • Turn around in a full circle and find an exit
  • Swim 25 yards to the exit
  • Exit from the water
  • If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder
  • Just four in ten parents of children ages 4-17 report that their
    child can perform all five basic swimming skills, yet more than nine
    in 10 (92 percent) say that their child is likely to participate in
    water activities this summer.

    Every day, an average of 10 people die in the U.S. from unintentional
    drowning - with 20 percent of them children 14 or younger, according
    to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death
    for children and sixth for people of all ages. Among children between the ages of one and four, drowning is responsible for more deaths than any other cause except birth defects.

    *       A third (32 percent) of all Americans plan to swim at a place this
    summer without a lifeguard.​

    To find an American Red Cross swimming and water safety class near you, please click here.

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