Based on a poll by the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts, about two-thirds of families with young kids have plans on swimming in areas without lifeguards this summer. However, majority of these families are not aware of the right thing to do during water emergencies. Furthermore, most of them do not really know how to keep their loved ones safe in the water.

According to the poll, nearly half of those families have never even taken swimming lessons before. This could possibly be because nearly half of all Americans have had an experience where they were fearful of drowning. Two-thirds of them also mistakenly believe that by putting inflatable armbands, or “water wings,” on children, it will be more than enough to keep them safe when an adult is not nearby. The problem is that these aren’t lifesaving devices. Children as well as weak or inexperienced swimmers should put on U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets instead. Even with the approved life jackets on, constant adult supervision is still required.

Findings from the survey also indicated that people believe that having a swimming buddy or flotation device will help to keep them safe. Although it is highly recommended to have a swim buddy, they alone aren’t enough to keep swimmers truly safe. “The correct steps to take when you see a swimmer who needs help is to shout for help, reach or throw the person a rescue or flotation device and tell them to grab it; then call 9-1-1 if needed. People think that if a person isn’t calling out for help that they must be OK. However, he or she is likely using all her energy to just try to stay above water. People think they should enter the water to save someone, but often this endangers the life of the rescuer,” explained Jarrett Barrios, CEO of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts.

There are quite a number of common signs swimmers use when they are in trouble. Firstly, they will start to tread water and wave an arm. Secondly, they will extend their arms to the side or the front, pressing down for support without making any forward progress. Thirdly, they will be positioned vertically in the water, but their legs will not be kicking. For more information, do check it over here.

Ideally, one should arm himself or herself with swimming skills. In Singapore, swimming lessons are available in every public swimming complex. Alternatively, you can check out Happy Fish Swim School. We offer a variety of swimming lessons for all ages.