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Water Safety

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS 2/ FOX 28)- A survey conducted for the Red Cross stated that only 56% of adult swimmers know how to swim based on five critical water safety skills.

Introducing the water at a young age was no question for a mom of three.

"I think it's one of the most critical skills kids can have because it's an activity, its fun," Mary Bonine said.

Water skills that she said are important for not only her kids to learn.

In fact, the American Red Cross states that parents who don't know how to swim may be hesitant to let their kids in the water.

Skills that Marion YMCA Aquatic Director Becky Weaver said she teachers to swimmers.

"Here at the Y, we teach them to not only call for help but lay on their belly and safely help a friend."

According to the American Red Cross, 10 Americans die everyday from unintentional drownings. 20% are under the age of 14.

"Drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids under the age of 14," The Linn-Mar School District Aquatic Manager Bobby Kelley said.

The Linn-Mar School District started teaching their 4th graders about water safety this year.

Lessons included putting on a life jacket or jumping into the water with clothes on.

Skills that could potentially save a life.

"We had students who had never been in the water before," Kelley said.

He said that Linn-Mar schools plans to educate students on water safety every year.

The Red Cross encourages more Americans to learn water safety skills.

"Drownings most likely happen when a ball goes in the water and a kid goes in after the ball," Weaver said.

Steps that Weaver says parents can take to prevent drownings.

Bonine agreed.

"Kids need to know that someone needs to be watching them. Adults need to know that someone needs to be watching them too."

The five skills stepping into a pool, treading water for 1 minute, being able to turn in a circle, locate an exit and swim 25 yards to an exit.

The American Red Cross launched a new campaign to reduce drowning rates by 50% in 50 cities across 19 states around the country.

For the next 3 to 5 years, they hope to urge families on the importance of swim lessons for all ages and knowing the critical water safety skills.

The YMCA offers swim lessons for all ages Monday through Saturday. The swim lessons schedule is on their website



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