Summer water safety tips from Red Cross & Heart Association

Summer water safety tips from Red Cross & Heart Association


As you cool off at the beach or the pool this summer, or head to the woods or mountains for a camping vacation, the American Red Cross encourages you and your family to keep safety in mind!

Water safety: The most basic water safety tip is simple: Make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim! Lessons are available at most public and private pools for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone.

l Swim in supervised areas only.

l Obey all rules and posted signs.

l Don’t mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.

l Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Get out of the water at the first indication of bad weather.

Boating safety: Whether you are the captain of a schooner or a passenger on a skiboat, following safety guidelines protects you and other seafarers.

l Be weather wise: Sudden wind shifts, lightning flashes or choppy water can mean a storm is coming. Bring a portable radio to check weather reports, and return to shore if dangerous conditions are present or predicted.

l Bring extra gear you may need: A flashlight, extra batteries, matches, a map of where you are, flares, sun tan lotion, first aid kit, extra sunglasses, insect repellant, food and drinking water. Put items that need to be protected in a watertight pouch or a container that floats.

l Tell someone on shore where you are going, who is with you, and how long you will be away.

l Check your boat, equipment, boat balance, engine and fuel supply before leaving. Do not overload your boat.

l Wear your lifejacket.

Sun safety: Summer means fun in the sun! But don’t let a sunburn or heat-related illness ruin your day. Always drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks when working or playing in the hot weather. Wear a hat and sunscreen.

Hiking and camping safety: Many families will visit national parks and forests this summer to enjoy the great outdoors. But if you’re not prepared to rough it i;n the woods, hiking or camping can be an unpleasant and even dangerous experience. The best way to help guarantee a good time for all is to plan ahead carefully and follow common-sense safety precautions. Be sure that you know of any particular dangers in the areas that you plan to visit. Have a good first aid kit with you and an evacuation plan in case of an emergency.

For more summer safety tips, information about CPR and first aid classes or other health & safety information, contact the American Red Cross, Rock River Chapter, 727 N. Church St., Rockford, IL 61103. (815) 963-8471.

American Heart Association summer water safety tips: While you’re planning for fun in the sun, the American Heart Association encourages you to think about water safety and learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If you’re spending time near lakes, pools or other bodies of water, knowing CPR can save lives. You can also be prepared by following these water safety tips:

l Be prepared to perform CPR. If you don’t know CPR, learn. Drowning is a leading cause of death in infants, children and adolescents.

l Keep a constant watch over infants and children who are swimming. Drowning can happen in minutes, even in shallow water.

l No child is “drown proof” The ability to swim does not prevent drowning. Often children sink quietly and drown without screaming for help or thrashing in the water.

l Put life vests on your children. Children should wear life vests when swimming in natural bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. They can easily be swept away by river currents and are very difficult to see if they become submerged in a lake or river.

“Knowing what to do in an emergency around water can save a life,” says Robert Bonow, M.D., national president of the American Heart Association. “CPR training is offered in most communities. Your local American Heart Association can provide information on training centers in your area. To find a CPR training center near you, call the American Heart Association at 1-877-AHA-4CPR or visit and click “CPR.” When calling your local training center for course information, specify that you would like to take a Heartsaver CPR course that includes child and infant CPR training.

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