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American Red Cross - Northwest Louisiana Chapter  
Water Recreation

Learn to swim. This is the best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water.

Always swim with a buddy. Never swim alone. Swim in supervised areas only.

Know your swimming limits and stay within them. Don't try to keep up with a stronger skilled swimmer or encourage others to keep up with you.

Obey "No Diving signs that indicate the area is unsafe for headfirst entries. Enter feet first into water if you don't know the depth. Also, learn the correct way to dive from a qualified instructor.

Watch out for the "dangerous too's" -- too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.

Use common sense about swimming after eating. In general, you do not have to wait an hour after eating before you may safely swim. However, if you had a large meal, it is wise to let digestion get started before doing strenuous activity.

Alcohol and swimming don't mix. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination, especially in the water. It affects your swimming and diving skills and reduces your body's ability to stay warm.

Know how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies. Remember to CHECK-CALL-CARE. CHECK the scene to ensure it's safe and CHECK the victim, CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency number, and CARE for the person until help arrives. To learn more about what to do in an emergency situation, contact the Red Cross about First Aid and CPR community courses.