Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May in a Nutshell

Splish, Splash - Swim Safely this Summer!

By Squiggy the Squirrel

The other morning when I was sipping my morning coffee and eating Nutella pancakes, I heard the words "Red Cross" on the TV and my ears perked up. The TODAY show had on this great segment about swimming and water safety.

After watching, I knew this would be a great topic to share with readers this month as we prepare for the summer ahead. Did you know that 80% of American plan to include some sort of water activity in their summer plans, including going to the beach, lake, or pool? That means you probably have swimming plans coming up!

In a recent national survey the Red Cross conducted, 80% of Americans said they could swim, but when asked further questions about their skills, the Red Cross got some surprising results.

  • Only 56% of those who said they can swim, said they could perform all 5 basic water safety skills
  • 6 in 10 Americans have never taken a professional swimming course

Let's talk about these statistics in more detail. The 5 basic water safety skills, also called "water competency," include being able to:

  1. Step or jump into water over your head
  2. Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute
  3. Turn around in a full circle and find an exit
  4. Swim 25 yards (75 feet)
  5. Exit from the water (this is in a pool, you should be able to exit without using the ladder.)
Can you perform these 5 basic skills? Don't feel bad if you can't, because now is the time to learn by taking a professional swimming class. If you're in the DC area, reach out to your local aquatic or fitness center to see if there are upcoming classes, especially ones that use Red Cross curriculum. 

Another great water safety tool is the new Red Cross Swim App for your smart phone. The app is a great aid to help children learn to swim. It rewards and shares your kids' achievements as they earn badges for completing skills, reinforces tips with games and videos, and teaches about water safety in a vareity of places, such as pools, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Download it directly today from the iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon Marketplace app stores.

I'm excited to hear about all your summer swimming plans! But remember, safety comes first. The Red Cross has many more water safety tips you can read about on our website. Share these with your family and friends so that your summer is both fun and safe!


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