Only 56% of adults who say they can swim can perform five critical water-safety skills that could save their lives, according to a new American Red Cross survey.
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Competency with all five — floating or treading water for one minute without a flotation device; stepping or jumping into water over your head and returning to the surface; treading water or floating in a full circle and then finding a way out of the water; exiting a pool without using a ladder; swimming 25 yards (the length of a standard pool) without stopping — is essential to being able to help yourself in a pool or open-water emergency, says Connie Harvey, a Red Cross water safety expert. […]
A 2010 study commissioned by the USA Swimming Foundation and conducted by the University of Memphis found that nearly 70% of black children and nearly 60% of Hispanic children have low or no swimming ability, compared with 40% of white children.
To help address this problem, the Red Cross Tuesday launched a campaign to reduce the drowning rate by 50,000 in 50 targeted cities over the next three to five years through increased swimming lessons, water-safety education programs, and added training opportunities for lifeguards and water-safety instructors.