West Michigan has no shortage of places to enjoy the water this summer. From the golden dunes of Lake Michigan beaches to rivers, creeks, and backyard pools, it seems that everywhere we turn there is an opportunity for some aquatic fun. However, with all of this fun comes the responsibility to make sure we and our loved ones can safely enjoy the water this summer.
The new American Red Cross Swim App allows us to do just that. The free, multipurpose app available for iPhone, Android, and
Kindle Fire users enables parents and caregivers to track their child’s progress through Red Cross swim lessons, access important water safety information, and entertain children with fun videos and quizzes.
Parents aren’t the only ones who can use the app, either. There are fun videos and quizzes designed teach kids the importance of being safe around the water. It is important to note that the Swim App is not meant to be a replacement for Red Cross swimming lessons but, rather, a complement to them.
Other key features of the Red Cross Swim App include:
- Progress tracker for goals achieved in swimming lessons
- Stroke videos and performance charts to help with proper techniques
- “Help your Child Progress” activities that reinforce what is covered in lessons
- Water safety and drowning prevention information for parents on a variety of aquatic environments including beaches, pools, lakes, and rivers
- Achievement badges to share on social media
A recent survey, conducted by the Red Cross, showed that we tend to think of ourselves as better swimmers than we actually are. The survey found that while 80 percent of Americans said that they could swim, only 56 percent of swimmers can perform all five of the basic skills that could save their life in the water.
These critical water safety skills, also known as “water competency,” are the ability to: step or jump into the water over your head; return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute; turn around in a full circle and find an exit; swim 25 yards to the exit; and exit from the water. If in a pool, you must be able to exit without using the ladder.
Every day, an average of 10 people die in the U.S. from unintentional drowning – 20 percent of them are children aged 14 or younger, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death for children and sixth for people of all ages.
These statistics aren’t meant to scare us from the pool; instead, they should serve as a reminder of the importance of taking steps to stay safe in the water this summer. The Red Cross Swim App is a great place first step to take, and it only takes seconds to download—that’s a step we all have time for these days.
People can download the app for free in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store for Androidor Amazon Kindle Storeby searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.