May Is National Water Safety Awareness Month

Safer Me

Bringing Water Safety to Your Kids the Whole Month of May

Less than a 4-minute read…

Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death among children under 4.  Each year, 4,500 Americans die in drowning tragedies that are almost always 100% preventable. 

Water safety and drowning prevention are organic parts of SwimJim’s program all year round.  We love that our work each day is dedicated to ending drowning in our lifetime.  Your child is already on the path towards greater water safety with swim lessons and swimming skills.  Knowing how to swim can be life-saving.  But swimming alone is not enough.

Drowning is complex and always unexpected.  There are 3 principles of water safety you and your family can take with you any time you are enjoying the water.  

Safer Water: water means drowning risk

  • Pools need protective barriers, like fences and gates with automatic locks. Otherwise there is a huge risk that a child could wander into the pool unsupervised. 
  • Hot tubs and spas need covers.  Not only at your pool, but also at friends and family’s homes that you visit. Same at hotels and resorts.  Look for them and ask about them.  It is not too bold; it is smart.  You’ll be glad you did. 
  • Pool drains in homes are not required to have safety-release features.  Ask your friend, neighbor or family member if their pool has a safety-release drain when you visit for a pool party.  Ask your hotel or resort manager too. Drain entrapment is real and can be deadly or crippling.
  • Oceans, lakes, rivers and other natural bodies of water are Mother Nature’s domain. In her backyard, a parent or caregiver can only bring safety awareness and undistracted supervision.

Safer Kids: water safety starts early, with education & experience

  • Learn to swim consistently & progressively.  It is fun, healthy and a potential life-saver.
  • Have focused, undistracted supervision.  No lifeguard on duty? A designated “water watcher” is like a designated driver.  Someone must keep eyes on all swimmers – including adults – at all times.
  • Learn to follow pool & beach rules.  Wear US Coast Guard-approved lifejackets while boating or enjoying other aquatic sports. Floaties don’t cut it.  They can and do fail.

Safer Response:  know what to do in a water emergency

  • Emergency Action Plans are how we to respond if a drowning emergency occurs. Talk to your children about emergencies.  Drownings are not the only ones.  They happen. 
  • Learn CPR, emergency response procedures and first aid. Google CPR Party for a fun way for a group to learn CPR.
  • 911 and first responders are always available.  Teach your kids when and how to call it. You could be the one in trouble. 

There is no “safe” when it comes to the water.  Risk is always present.  Avoid a false sense of security.  We must teach our kids to be safer through awareness, education and action.

From April 30th through May 6th, 2018, students in our learn-to-swim and advanced programs will complete Stop Drowning Now’s – Water Safety Challenge program, so please make sure that your child brings an extra shirt with them to the pool for this activity.  We will help your child learn to make safer choices when in or around water.  And it will be a lot of fun!

By making safer choices, your child will learn how the risks can be drastically reduced.   No one is ever “water safe” or “drown proof”.   Water safety is the responsibility of the whole family.  Drowning doesn’t look like drowning.  Drowning happens when you least expect it.

Smart Choices for a Safer Me!

Here are some of the important topics we will cover this month:

  • Never enter the water without supervision.
  • Only play or swim with adult supervision (also known as Water Watchers).
  • Follow all safety rules.  They are there for a reason.
  • Choose a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket.  Water wings and inflatables are not Coast Guard approved.  They malfunction frequently and can create a false sense of safety. False safety increases drowning risk.
  • Learn to swim.
  • Know what to do if you ever fall into water fully-clothed.
  • Practice an Emergency Action Plan.  Know what to do in any emergency.
  • Never enter the water to help someone.  A bad situation can become a double drowning.  We like to say: Reach! Throw! Don’t Go! Let Someone Know!  

Do your part: be water smart!  As always, it is a privilege and a treat to teach your child.