Water Safety Tips from The Red Cross

As students finish their school year, summer brings many opportunities for water play!  The American Red Cross New Jersey Region wants you to have fun and be safe.  We are providing tips you can follow to help have a safe summer around water.


Red Cross swim lessons help set the stage for a lifetime of water safety by equipping you with the knowledge and skills needed to help you and your loved ones swim safely and with confidence.

  1. Ensure that everyone in the family becomes water competent. That is, learn to swim well, know your limitations and how to recognize and avoid hazards, and understand how to help prevent and respond to emergencies around water.
  2. Adults should actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. Children should follow the rules.
  3. Fence your pool in with four-sided fencing that is at least four-feet in height and use self-closing, self-latching gates.
  4. Wear your U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket always when on a boat and if in a situation beyond your skill level.
  5. Swim as a pair near a lifeguard’s chair – everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. If in a location with no lifeguards, such as a residential pool, designate a “Water Watcher” to keep a close eye and constant attention on children in and around the water.


  1. If you plan to swim in the ocean, a lake or river, be aware that swimming in these environments is different than swimming in a pool. Be sure you have the skills for these environments.
  2. Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and ask them about local conditions.
  3. Make sure you swim sober and that you always swim with a buddy. Know your limitations and make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  4. Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters. Watch out for and avoid aquatic life.
  5. If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic. Signal to those on shore that you need assistance. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

Download our SWIM APP

The Red Cross has a Swim App which promotes water safety education and helps parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. The app has features specifically designed for children, including a variety of kid-friendly games, videos and quizzes. Download the app by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.




A Pillowcase Can Make All the Difference to a Child During a Disaster

The American Red Cross has empowered one million children in grades 3 through 5 to be prepared when a disaster strikes, using something as simple as a pillowcase.

Last week, Red Cross New Jersey Region volunteers helped bring The #PillowcaseProject to nearly 200 children in the General Charles Harker School school in Woolwich.


Third grader Gabriella from the General Charles Harker School in Woolwich decorates her pillowcase with the help of Red Cross New Jersey volunteer Nancy.

Inspired by university students who carried their belongings in pillowcases during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, The #PillowcaseProject is a preparedness education program which teaches students about personal and family preparedness, local hazards and basic coping skills.

In the New Jersey Region, the Red Cross has educated more than 20,000 children in local schools, community centers and on military bases.

Children all over New Jersey, such as this Wharton student pictured and others at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, learned how to create their own emergency supply kit by packing essential items, such as a toothbrush, change of clothes and a flashlight into a pillowcase. The students are given their own Red Cross pillowcase to decorate. Each student also brings home a “My Preparedness Workbook.”

Wharton Boy - at Wharton LibraryChildren at Military Base

The Red Cross New Jersey Region responds to more than 800 home fires a year, making it important to also educate children about fire safety. As part of The Pillowcase Project, volunteer educators also teach students like Ziare and Damian, pictured here at the Newark YMCA, about calling 911 in the event of a home fire.

Newark Student - Fire Alarms Drill

The Red Cross has engaged more than 35,000 volunteers and partnered with more than 13,000 schools, community organizations and partners to deliver this program to students across the country and at more than a dozen U.S. military stations abroad. The Walt Disney Company is the founding sponsor of the program.

The Pillowcase Project is another way that the Red Cross is helping New Jersey children and families to #BeRedCrossReady.

Additional information about The Pillowcase Project is available at redcross.org/pillowcase.

Join us at the NBC 4 and Telemundo 47 Health and Fitness Expo

Learn all about the Expo on NBC 4 New York’s page

Kick Off Red Cross Month on the Battleship New Jersey

March 4 - Battleship NJ FINAL



Red Cross Holidays for Heroes

Holiday Mail for Heroes - kids

Send a touch of home!

A simple card can have a profound impact. Show your support with an encouraging note for the holidays to the brave men and women who serve our country.

Holidays for Heroes is an annual campaign in which the American Red Cross provides the community with the opportunity to send cards of thanks and holiday cheer to military members, veterans and their families.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Address cards to “service member” or “veteran.”
  • Write a note! Keep your message positive and upbeat.
  • Avoid cards containing glitter.
  • Do not enclose any items with your holiday cards. Any items enclosed will be removed.
  • Include your name and where you’re from, but do not include additional personal information such as email, phone number or address.
  • Do not put cards in envelopes. Individual cards in envelopes cannot be accepted.

Cards for Holiday Mail for Heroes should be packaged and mailed to:

American Red Cross House
Holiday Mail for Heroes
6051 Doughboy Loop
JB MDL, NJ 08640

Cards can also be dropped off at Red Cross locations in New Jersey. Visit redcross.org/NJ.

Give something that means something. Send some holiday cheer to the servicemen and women who help defend our freedom. For more information about Holidays for Heroes, visit redcross.org/NJ or call the Red Cross at 609-562-3483.

How to Help Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey 2017

Ten month old Astro Arriaga sleeps in a Red Cross Shelter in Victoria, Texas.
Photo by Daniel Cima for The American Red Cross  – August 26, 2017

Thank you to all who have reached out regarding how to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Many have asked how they can donate goods to support the families impacted. The American Red Cross does not accept or solicit small quantities of individual donations of items for emergency relief purposes. Items such as collections of food, used clothing, and shoes often must be cleaned, sorted, and repackaged which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel that are needed for other aspects of our relief operation.

The Red Cross, in partnership with other organizations, suggests that the best use for those types of donations is to support needy organizations within donors’ local communities.

How to Help

Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

For more information about Red Cross response to disasters, please visit redcross.org.

Join us for the Jersey City Police and Fire 9/11 Memorial Blood Drive