Thursday, July 7, 2016
by Kate Walpole, American Red Cross
Last Friday, Red Cross certified lifeguard and water safety instructor Andy Slutsky appeared on FOX 5’s Good Day New York. The morning show’s theme was a pool party to kick off the Fourth of July weekend. Anchors Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly made sure to remind people to be safe while having fun. Andy talked about pool safety and why it’s important to make sure both adults and children know how to swim.
Andy is the owner of Aquatic Solutions, Inc., an American Red Cross Authorized Provider and Licensed Training Provider organization that provides training and services to aquatic and camp professionals through Red Cross classes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 10 people die in the U.S. from unintentional drowning every day; 1 in 5 of them are children 14 years or younger.
Andy discussed the importance of constant and active parental supervision of children swimming even when a lifeguard is present. He urged both adults and children learn how to swim because it can help prevent drowning. According to a Red Cross survey, more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills.
The Red Cross and its Scientific Advisory Council recommend that everyone learn to perform critical water safety skills, referred to as “water competency.” The skills, performed sequentially, include being able to:
- Step or jump into the water over your head;
- Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute;
- Rotate 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.
Participation in formal swim lessons can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning death by 88%. To find classes for your family, contact your local aquatic facility and ask for American Red Cross swimming and water safety programs, or visit redcross.org/takeaclass.
“My most important tip is to watch your children very carefully and be near them at all times,” urged Andy. “Always be right next to them when at a pool or beach. In a split second they can get into a dangerous situation. Another important tip is to get kids, and adults for that matter, swimming lessons if they do not know how to swim. Adults often take kids into the water and, if they themselves are not good swimmers, they can endanger themselves and their child in the event they get into deep water. Also, making sure children have a US Coast Guard-approved PFD (Personal Flotation Device) is key to safety if they are not proficient swimmers.”
Andy also performed a hands-only CPR demonstration. This simple-to-learn and easy-to-remember technique increases the likelihood of surviving cardiac emergencies that occur outside medical settings for those who are not CPR certified.
“It is always an honor to represent the American Red Cross and last week’s interview on Good Day New York was so much fun,” said Andy. “We were on a rooftop pool with fantastic weather overlooking most of NYC and the hosts and production team were really great and made it very enjoyable for everyone.”
Source: Changing Lives Story Book