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Red Cross Launches Anti-Drowning Campaign and Swim App To Urge Adults and Children to Learn how to Swim Safely
New National Survey Finds More than Half of All Americans Can’t Swim or Perform Basic Swim Safety Skills
Nashville, TN – Memorial Day weekend is here and the American Red Cross wants to help people gear up for summer with a new national campaign to reduce drowning. The Red Cross is urging people across the country to make sure they and their families can swim safely. This year marks 100 years of Red Cross swimming safety education, and the Red Cross is making a new sustained multi-year push to teach more people to swim safely.
“As we all gear up for trips to the pool, beach, rivers and lakes, we’re asking that adults here in Middle Tennessee make water safety a priority this summer,” said Joel Sullivan, Regional CEO for the Tennessee Volunteer Region. “Families need to make sure that both adults and children have the knowledge and skills they need to be safe in and around the water.”
The new Red Cross drowning prevention campaign comes at a time when a new national survey shows that people believe they are better swimmers than they actually are. The survey, conducted for the Red Cross, found that while 80 percent of Americans said they could swim, only 56 percent of the self-described swimmers can perform all five of the basic skills that could save their life in the water.
These critical water safety skills, also known as “water competency,” are the ability to: Step or jump into the water over your head; Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute; Turn around in a full circle and find an exit; Swim 25 yards to the exit; and Exit from the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.
Every day, an average of 10 people die in the U.S. from unintentional drowning – with 20 percent of them children 14 or younger, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children and sixth for people of all ages. In addition, for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
Overall, the Red Cross survey finds that more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills. Other key survey findings are:
The survey found that nearly half of Americans (46 percent) report that they have had an experience in the water where they were afraid they might drown. In addition, one in five (19 percent) said they knew someone who had drowned, and 20 percent knew someone who nearly drowned.
Many People Planning Summer Water Activities in Areas Without Lifeguards
The new Red Cross drowning prevention campaign begins as summer gets underway, and eight out of 10 Americans are planning water activities such as going to the beach, pool, water park, or boating or fishing this summer. A third (32 percent) of all Americans plan to swim at a place this summer without a lifeguard.
While stronger swimming skills would reduce the risk of drowning, the Red Cross survey found that only two percent of adults plan to take swimming lessons this summer, and about one in five children (20 percent) are likely to take swimming lessons this summer.
The Red Cross also announced it will seek to reduce the drowning rate by 50 percent in 50 cities in 19 states that have high numbers of drowning deaths or high drowning rates by teaching 50,000 more people to swim in those communities over the next three to five years.
Red Cross swimming lessons help people develop skills and water safety behaviors that help people be more comfortable and safe when they are in, on and around the water. The Red Cross encourages all household members to enroll in age-appropriate water orientation and Learn-to-Swim programs. To find classes for your family, contact your local aquatic facility and ask for American Red Cross swimming and water safety programs.
Red Cross Swim App
The American Red Cross has also announced its new free Swim App to promote water safety for parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. The app allows iPhone, Android and Kindle Fire users to track their child’s progress in Red Cross swim lessons and help children learn the key skills and goals for each swim level.
Features of the Red Cross Swim App include:
Parents can create a profile for each child, sharing achievements and badges with family and friends on social networks. Children can have fun learning water safety tips with the child-friendly videos and quizzes in the app.
The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross April 17-20, 2014 using ORC International’s Online CARAVAN omnibus survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,024 American adults, including 201 parents of children aged 4-17. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the US adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education. The margin of error for the total sample of 1,024 adults is ±3.1 percent; the margin of error for the sample of 201 parents is ±6.9 percent.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/@RedCross.
TopicsAmerica Red Cross, Drowning, Joel Sullivan, lifeguards, Memorial Day, Middle Tennessee, Nashville, Nashville TN, Red Cross Swim App, Swimming, Tennessee Volunteer Region, Water Competency, water safety
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