Survey: Americans confused on water safety

Memorial Day is upon us and many people and families, maybe even your own, will be heading to the beach this weekend for a fun and relaxing getaway.  While the beach is a great place to cool off on a hot day and is a regular destination for families with children,  many Americans don’t know the potential dangers of swimming and aren’t aware of the necessary course of action if a swimmer is in distress.  We took a survey on Americans’ knowledge of swimming. See the results – and lifesaving tips – below.

 Survey Results

  • 63% of families with children will swim somewhere without a lifeguard on duty.
  • 93% of people were unable to correctly order the steps needed to help a swimmer in jeopardy.
  • About half of all Americans have had formal swimming instruction, with minorities even less likely to have taken lessons.
  • The percentage of people who know someone who almost drowned increased from 25% in 2009 to 41% in 2013 and the number of people who know someone who has drowned has increased from 25% to 29%.

Safety Guidance

  • If you see a swimmer in distress you should shout for help, reach or throw the person a rescue or flotation device, call 9-1-1 if needed, and give care as necessary.
  • Always swim with a buddy in an area that is supervised by lifeguards.
  • Water rings and other flotation items are not life saving devices.
  • If you find yourself caught in a rip current, you must stay calm and not attempt to go against the current.  You must swim parallel to the shore with the tide until you are free from the tide. Once you are out of the rip current, you can head toward the shore. If you feel tired or too weak to make it the rest of the way, wave or call out for help.
  • Children should always be supervised by a parent or guardian, even if a lifeguard is present.
  • Red Cross Swimming Lessons help people develop valuable skills and water safety behaviors to make them feel more comfortable and safe when they are in or around the water.
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