With Tuesday's drowning in the Housatonic River in New Milford, American Red Cross officials are reminding people to not swim beyond their ability to do so. Aquatics Specialist Jack Harder says the people who often get in trouble in the water are males, aged 18-24, who are in areas they shouldn't be swimming to begin with.
According to his family, 34-year old Xavier Puin of Brooklyn couldn't swim well. The Independence Day incident happened near Bleachery Dam.
Harder says common sense and thinking before jumping in the water can go a long way in preventing these kinds of tragic accidents.
This is the Red Cross's 102nd year being involved in water safety campaigns. The effort started because of a high rate of water-related accidents and drownings in the Northeast. Their programs are aimed at making every American a swimmer, and every swimmer a life saver.
Harder says the other category of people who get into trouble in the water are very small children. He says drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death for kids, birth to 5 years old. Harder says the solution for that is supervision. That doesn't just mean at the beach or pool. Harder says kids must be supervised around bathtubs, buckets and anything else that contains water.
The other method of protection is wearing a well-fitting life jacket. He says that can help safe a life. Harder notes that many people who drown in boating accidents, including adults, is because they were not wearing a life jacket.