Water is fun but remember, safety first!

How to ‘wait for rescue with floatation’ ‘Oyako DE Mananda’ (learnt with parents and children)

Japanese Red Cross Kanagawa chapter held a course on Water safety called, ‘Oyako de Rescue’ (Rescue with parent and child) at beach. The two-day course allowed 24 couples/48 parents and their children to learn how to use plastic bottles and other materials as makeshift floatation devices, as well as how to swim with their clothes on.

The main lesson was that in an emergency, it is better to float and wait for rescue than to attempt to swim out of it. Instructors advised participants to avoid shouting for help since this decreases the amount of air in your lungs, thus making you more likely to sink. They also stated that it is more difficult to float if you raise your arms out of the water.

At first, the children hesitated but eventually some of them tried ‘Seuki’ (floating on your back for one minute, uninterrupted) during the latter half of the course. 6th grader Ayumu Nakata, who swam with his clothes on for the first time said, ”it was difficult to move in the water with my clothes on, but it was easy to float.” Shunya Kato in the 5th grade said ”I found it easier to float well if I thrust out my stomach and relaxed.” He claimed that he felt like he was getting the hang of it.

This was the 16th time ‘Oyako de Rescue’ was hosted by Japanese Red Cross Kanagawa chapter. Mieko Masuda and Eiko Takuno, the volunteer instructor leaders, said ‘The important thing is that instructors praise the children for their efforts. Children will smile and say, ‘I’ve got it!’ This sense of accomplishment is the driving force behind this event’s success. We hope that they are able to put the skills they learned here to good use if they ever find themselves in an emergency situation.”