Make water safety a priority this summer

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:44

Red Cross is offering a number of safety courses Two in ten people planning to swim, boat or fish this summer cannot swim well, according to a new national survey by the American Red Cross. Nearly 8 in 10 households (78 percent) are planning at least one water-related recreational activity this summer such as swimming, boating and fishing. However, 21 percent described their swimming skills as fair, poor or nonexistent - including three percent unable to swim at all, the Red Cross survey found. “Learning how to swim and maintaining constant supervision of those in or near the water are crucial elements of water safety,” said Dr. Peter Wernicki, chair, Aquatics Subcommittee of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. “As we head into the summer season, we urge families to make water safety a priority.” Sadly, each year drownings occur, yet many could have been prevented: One-third of the survey respondents (32 percent) mistakenly believe that having a small child wear a flotation device is safer than providing arm’s-reach supervision. One in five (18 percent) of adults are unsure what to do if they are caught in a strong current. Nearly two in five (38 percent) recalled an experience in which someone in deep water needed help. Red Cross Aquatics Training The Red Cross has developed a comprehensive program starting with Parent and Child Aquatics (6 months to about 5 years old) through lessons for adults. Participants learn swimming skills with a strong emphasis on drowning prevention and water safety. Water safety tips and information can be found on, and people can contact their local Red Cross to find out where Learn-to-Swim programs are offered. For those who own pools and hot tubs, the Red Cross has a Home Pool Essentials™: Maintenance and Safety online safety course ( that teaches the fundamentals of creating and maintaining a safe environment. Upcoming classes include: On Monday, June 13 an Adult CPR/AED course will be offered from 6 to 10:30 p.m. The fee is $55. On Thursday, June 16 a Recertification in CPR for the Professional Rescuer training will be offered 6 to 10 p.m. The fee for the class is $50 and participants must have their own pocket mask. On Saturday, June 25 an Infant/Child CPR course will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The fee is $60. On Wednesday, June 29 a Babysitter’s Training course is being offered from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The fee for this course is $70. The Sussex County Chapter of the American Red Cross is located at 93 Spring St., Suite 101, in Newton. For more information or to register for a class, visit or call the office at 973-579-1600.