Thursday, May 28, 2015

With pools opening this weekend and vacations near, the Red Cross offers five key water safety tips

May 20, 2015 – With swimming pools opening this weekend and summer vacations on the horizon, people will be flocking to pools and beaches. That can be a great way to beat the heat. But it can also be disastrous without the proper precautions.

“Water is fun to be around and everybody loves it, but it also has a dangerous side to it,” says Jill Toennis, the Red Cross’s aquatics specialist for the Northern Miami Valley. “An average of 10 people die from drowning every day, and half of them are under the age of 14.”

Additionally, different environments create different challenges, she says, so just because someone is skilled at swimming in a pool doesn’t mean he or she is skilled swimming in an ocean.

To help, Toennis offers five key safety tips for the water this summer:

  1. Swim in a designated area supervised by lifeguards.
  2. Maintain constant supervision. Never leave a child unattended near water—not even for a minute. It takes less time than that to drown. And do not trust a child’s life to another child. Also, teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  3. Make sure everyone in your family can swim well. Enroll them in Red Cross swim lessons.
  4. Have the appropriate equipment at your pool to be able to reach or throw in case of an emergency. Have a cell phone, first aid kit and lifejacket available. Also, learn CPR and resuscitation breathing, and download the Red Cross emergency and first aid apps.
  5. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.

The Red Cross offers a free swimming app that includes more safety tips, as well as interesting quizzes for swimming in different bodies of water.

The Red Cross has been teaching people to swim for more than 100 years, and through a Centennial Grant continues its mission to help children learn to swim by working with swimming pools in areas of need to provide free or discounted swim lessons.

To speak with Toennis or arrange an in-person/on-camera interview, email her at

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