As the summer months approach, the importance of swimming safety is imperative because it only takes a few quick seconds to realize the dangers that unsafe swimming may present. As a Red Cross volunteer my own near-death summer experience with swimming comes to mind because the scare that I gave my mother is hard to forget. What seemed like an innocent opportunity to beat the heat, almost turned into a day of terror for me and my mom. It was the month of June and sweltering heat led everybody, including my mom and I to the water park. As an eager and sweaty 12-year-old, it was a mission for me to drag my mom around to find the best and not exactly the safest, way to cool off. After passing by all of the “kiddy pools”, there it was the tallest water slide in the park with about a 50ft drop into a 10ft deep pool. “No Yei”, my mom said with fear on her face. Despite my mother’s warning, without hesitation, I jumped in line and waited for what I thought was going to be the best ride of my life. By the time I reached the top of the slide the fear began to seep in and the ride attendant must have noticed the uncertainty on my face because he turned to me and said “You’ll be fine” as he snapped on my life vest. I took two steps forward and there I was, looking down at a 50ft long, white, watery slide. I braced myself and took the leap. Screaming all the way down the slide as the water pounded me in the face I started to think that it wasn’t that bad until I was met by 10ft of pool water. I plunged in so deep it seemed like I was at the bottom of the pool and that’s when I began to panic. It felt like the water was starting to fill my lungs as I flung my arms and legs violently trying to make my way back up to the surface. What was only about 10 seconds seemed like a whole hour before lifeguards finally realized they needed to jump in and save me. Thankfully, I did not endure any injuries and I was able breathe just fine. However the experience was still a frightening one and must have also been one for my mother who had tears in her eyes as she received me from the lifeguards. “Don’t ever do that again”, she said and she didn’t have anything to worry about because I did not intend on challenging my safety ever again! Though I survived the outcome of my risky decision, others might not have been so lucky which is why the American Red Cross is placing enormous importance on water safety for children as well as adults this summer. Memorial Day is upon us so follow us this week as the American Red Cross provides expert advice on how to be safe in the water, prevent drowning, and give tips to parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim.