Summer Pool and Water Safety

(Published June-July 2013

A recent American Red Cross survey* shows that almost half the adults surveyed on water safety say they’ve had an experience where they nearly drowned, and one in four know someone who has drowned. Even though 90 percent of families with young children will be in the water at some point this summer, almost half (48 percent) plan to swim in a place with no lifeguard. With so many planning to be in, on or near the water, it is important to follow the basics of water safety, maintain constant supervision of children and to get trained!


American Red Cross Water Safety Tips

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.


Maintain Constant Supervision

  • If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers—many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
  • Actively supervise children whenever around water—even if lifeguards are present. Always stay within arm’s reach of young children.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.

Know How to Respond to an Aquatic Emergency

  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn how to respond.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

Visit for more swimming and water safety tips. Contact your local Red Cross chapter to find out which aquatic facilities in your area offer Red Cross courses, and sign up!

*Source: Red Cross Telephone survey of 1,002 U.S. Adults 18 years and older on March 20-23, 2009 conducted by ORC International.

Pool Safely

Pool Safely is a national public education campaign to reduce child drownings, non-fatal submersions and entrapments in public swimming pools and spas. The campaign was developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to carry out the requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, federal legislation mandating new requirements for public pools and spas, including a public education campaign.

Few people know of the hidden dangers from drain or suction entrapments. What’s more, nearly 300 children younger than age five drown in residential and public pools and spas each year. Submersion incidents requiring emergency-room treatment or hospitalization number in the thousands and many victims experience permanent disability, including brain damage.

CPSC is working with other safety groups and state and local governments to ensure drowning and entrapment prevention become important public safety priorities by:

·       Enforcing requirements that all public pools and spas have anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety equipment, as needed;

  • Reducing child drownings, non-fatal submersions and suction entrapments in pools and spas;
  • Encouraging the use of multiple safety steps in and around pools and spas; and
  • Educating the public on the importance of constant supervision of children in and around water.

You and your family can Pool Safely and enjoy time at pools and spas by adopting extra safety steps.

Your greatest water safety assurance comes from adopting and practicing as many safety steps as possible. Adding an extra safety step around the water can make all the difference. You can never know which safety step will save a life — until it does.

For more information and resources for public pool and spa safety and the Pool and Spa Safety Act,

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