Red Cross congratulates participants of World's Largest Swimming Lesson

OTTAWA, June 14, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Red Cross congratulates participants from all across Canada who took part in attempting to set a new Guinness World Record for the World's Largest Swimming Lesson. Thousands of children and adults gathered in aquatic facilities around the globe and took part in swimming lessons at 11 am EST today. The yearly event is held to raise awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim in order to prevent drowning.

"Our community is surrounded by water so learning to swim saves lives," says Gena Fowler, director of leisure services for the town of Hampton and Canadian Red Cross master instructor swimming trainer. "This is a great way to promote not just the importance of learning to swim, but learning safety skills around water."

More than 50 grade three students gathered with Red Cross instructors in the town of Hampton, New Brunswick to help break the record.

"Far too many Canadians die each year from preventable water-related injuries," says Shelley Dalke, manager, national swimming and water safety programs for the Canadian Red Cross. "We congratulate everyone who came out today and tried to set a new Guinness World Record and helped to promote the importance of water safety."

Each year, an average of 400 Canadians drown, and more than half of those occur during the summer months. Recent polling shows that despite significant water safety education and awareness programming, there is still a gap in Canadians' behaviour around the water: Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional death for Canadian children ages one to four. A small child can disappear in seconds and can drown in only a few centimetres of water - enough to cover the mouth and nose. Typically these drownings occur in backyard pools, toddler pools, the bathtub or the beach.

The Canadian Red Cross has been helping to keep Canadians safe in, on and around water since 1946, and trained over 1.2 million Canadians in water safety last year. For more information about Canadian Red Cross swimming and water safety programs, or for safety tips, visit www.redcross.ca/swim.

Note to media: photos at www.flickr.com/photos/canadian_redcross/sets/72157630128672510/


SOURCE CANADIAN RED CROSS

For further information:

Canadian Red Cross Media Line
(613) 740-1994

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