With recent warm weather providing a taste of the approaching summer months, many people are looking forward to fun in the sun. Swimming is a popular summer activity but must be enjoyed with care. As May is National Water Safety Month, the American Red Cross is encouraging area residents to keep water safety in mind now and for the entire season.
This summer, the Red Cross offers residents of Cameron, Clearfield, Elk and Jefferson counties the following tips to prepare for safe water fun:
■Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
■Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
■Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
■When boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
■Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
■Prevent unsupervised access to home pools or hot tubs. Use safety covers as well as barriers to pool areas that cannot be opened by children.
■Maintain constant supervision of children around water, even if there are lifeguards present.
■Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
■Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
■Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
■If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
To view a complete list of safety tips, or to register for a water safety course or other individual or private group instruction, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit RedCross.org.