Bathing a little one isn’t just about cleanliness; it’s a sweet routine filled with bubbles, toys, and cherished memories. However, even in the splashing and giggling lies a responsibility to ensure the safety of our little ones. ​​Every caregiver should prioritize the child’s safety during bath time, and with these bath safety tips, you can ensure that this daily routine remains both fun and secure.

1. Never Leave Them Unattended

Unlike what many might envision, drowning is often silent. Children can slip under the water without making a sound, especially if they are young and unfamiliar with the dangers of water. Within moments, they can be submerged.

Stay Present:
Always stay within arm’s reach of your child while they’re in the bath. Physical
proximity allows you to react swiftly should they slip or face any difficulty.

A ringing phone, a knock at the door, or a momentarily forgotten item can pull a parent or caregiver away for “just a second.” But a lot can happen in that brief time. The urgency of the moment may trick our minds into believing we’ll be quick, but any distraction that pulls attention away from a bathing child is a risk not worth taking.

Prepare Ahead:
Before starting the bath, gather all the necessary items—soap, shampoo, towels, toys—and place them within easy reach.

Many believe that a small amount of water isn’t enough to pose a risk. This misconception can lead to tragic accidents. Even an inch of water is sufficient for a child to drown, particularly if they are very young or unable to right themselves.

Avoid Over-reliance on Bath Seats or Rings:
While they can provide support, they’re not substitutes for supervision. Children can still tip over or get trapped by these devices. Stay close and minimize distractions!

2. Check Water Temperature

One of the subtle but significant challenges faced by parents and caregivers during bath time is ensuring the right water temperature. Babies and toddlers don’t just enjoy their baths; it’s a sensory experience that aids in their relaxation and sleep. But their tender skin can react adversely to water temperatures that might seem comfortable to an adult. With this in mind, keeping the water temperature at an adequate setting will help keep bath time fun and enjoyable for both child and caregiver.

The Sensitivity of Young Skin:
The epidermis (outer layer of the skin) of babies and toddlers is thinner than in adults. This means they can’t bear the same temperature ranges and are more prone to burns.

Using the Right Testing Method:
Dipping a toe might not give an accurate temperature reading. Instead, the inside of your wrist or elbow, which are more sensitive than other body parts, can offer a more reliable gauge. This method mimics the sensitivity of a child’s skin, giving caregivers a better understanding of how the child might feel.

Precision with Thermometers:
While the elbow test is a good starting point, for those who want to be doubly sure, investing in a water thermometer can be wise. It provides a precise reading, ensuring that the water is neither too hot nor too cold. A range of 37°C to 38°C (98.6°F to 100.4°F) is often recommended for the little ones.

Mix Before You Dip:
Always mix the water well to even out the temperature. Hot water tends to rise, with cold water at the bottom, so proper mixing will prevent areas of extreme temperatures that might harm your child.

Remember, their comfort and safety are in our hands, and with a bit of attention to detail and these bath safety tips, bath time can be a joy for both child and caregiver.

3. Use Non-slip Mats or Stickers

The bathtub’s smooth surface, combined with soapy water, can quickly become a slipping hazard. With slippery conditions, the danger of accidental falls becomes all too real. But, with some foresight, the right tools, and these bath safety tips, these dangers can be minimized. Here’s how you can enhance safety during bath time:

Invest in a Non-Slip Mat:
Placing a non-slip mat inside the tub is one of the most effective ways to increase traction. These mats come in various sizes and designs, often with suction cups on the bottom that secure them firmly to the tub’s surface. They provide a textured surface, reducing the likelihood of slipping, even in soapy conditions.

Adhesive Stickers Can Help Too:
If you’re looking for a less conspicuous option than a mat, consider non-slip stickers. These are often designed with fun shapes, like stars or animals, which can be attractive to children. They stick directly to the tub’s surface and offer added grip without covering the entire tub.

Think Outside the Tub:
While it’s essential to prevent slips inside the tub, don’t forget about the potential hazards just outside it. Wet feet on slick bathroom tiles can be just as dangerous. A non-slip mat placed directly outside the bathtub can absorb excess water and offer secure footing for both the child and the caregiver during the entry and exit processes.

Maintenance Matters:
Over time, non-slip mats and stickers can accumulate soap scum and mold, reducing their effectiveness. It’s crucial to clean them regularly and replace them if they begin to lose their grip or show signs of wear.

With the simple addition of non-slip mats or stickers and a regular maintenance routine, caregivers can significantly reduce the risks associated with slippery bathtubs, ensuring that each bath is as safe as it is fun.

bath safety tips

4. Store Bath Products Safely

The bathroom can be a magical place for children, from the gentle water to the bubbles that form on the surface and the array of interesting bottles lined up on the edges. However, this excitement can swiftly turn into a hazard if bath products fall into the wrong (tiny) hands.

The Temptation of Colors and Shapes:
Bath products, with their vibrant colors, unique shapes, and sometimes even fun packaging, are immensely attractive to children. These bottles can easily be mistaken for toys or, worse, something edible.

Safety First Approach:
Storing these items on higher shelves or in closed cabinets ensures that they’re out of reach of children. If your bathroom doesn’t have higher storage, consider investing in wall-mounted units or over-the-door organizers.

Stay Prepared:
Despite all precautions, accidents can happen. Keep emergency numbers handy, be aware of the nearest medical facilities, and know the basic first-aid steps for ingestion or eye contact with bath products.

By implementing these bath safety tips, you can ensure that the time spent in the tub is filled with joy and free from risks. Remember, vigilance and preparation are the pillars of keeping your little ones safe during bath time.

Happy splashing!

While back to school means that summer is coming to an end, you can still have a great time at your local aquatics facility! A fun back to school event can bring your community together. Keeping in mind how to keep everyone safe, you can check on the latest information on water safety before you start your planning. We have 5 tips for you to have a fun and safer time at your aquatics facility. 

1. Plan themed activities

Having a theme can keep a cohesive theme throughout your event. You have a back to school theme already, and now it is time to add some activities. Pick activities for varying levels of engagement and abilities. Having this variety allows everyone to be able to participate. Back to school can even your theme!

Ideas like back to school bingo with pictures of items instead of numbers is great for most families. You can also do a scavenger hunt for various school supplies if space and the facility allows. 

Activities can include safety aspects too. You can plan activities that can teach adults and caregivers CPR. This is important for parents and caregivers to know. There are a lot of different songs that they can practice CPR to. Baby shark and Dancing Queen by ABBA are two popular options! Learning about emergency preparedness for a drowning event is good information for all to know. 

2. Incorporate Water Safety initiatives into your event

Water safety is always important even when there are Lifeguards. We have 5 layers of protection to help keep you and your guests safer. You can always bring those layers into your event. You can incorporate the supervision piece by ensuring you have at least one dedicated water watcher at all times during the event. Having a water watcher is important even if there are Lifeguards. 

Water safety also includes learning how to swim. Check if the facility offers swimming lessons year-around. It is always a good time of the year to practice your swimming skills – for children and adults!

3. Offer school supply/school related prizes

Back to school means a restalk of those school supplies. Offering prizes for some games can give a higher incentive to play! Potential prizes could include items like new binders, notepads, pens or pencils. They could also be bigger items such as a backpack, lunch box, or even a bike helmet. Whether small or large, you can count on participation for prizes! 

Not everyone will want to participate, so you can even host a silent auction during your event. This will help keep people entertained during your whole event. Some of these items can be for children or adults. This allows you to vary your options greatly. 

4. Promote Family Friendly activities

Family friendly activities can bring in the whole family to enjoy the fun! The facility may have a basketball hoop you can use. They may also have a net to play water volleyball. Both of these games can be played with people of all ages and you can use different size balls for both! Water volleyball can even be played with a giant beach ball for even more fun. 

Creating activities that everyone can participate in ensures that you are keeping varying abilities in mind. You can have activities that do not involve being in the water too. Activities like minute-to-win-it games. There are so many options to incorporate into your event.  

5. Partner with local businesses to offer promotions or be vendors at your event

Bringing in local businesses near you can help support your event in a multitude of ways. They can help sponsor some prizes, or even help sponsor food and drinks. This can help engage further within your community. 

Building relationships with different local businesses can make your event even more community friendly. This also can lead to those relationships being stronger. They may want to come back and support your event again next year too! 

Using these tips can help you have a fun and safer event! Looking for more tips? Check out our pool party safety tips for summer

“CANNONBALL!” a friend says as they jump into the pool! The pool, lake, pond, or ocean can be a great place to cool down from the summer heat. If you or someone you know has not yet learned how to swim as an adult, they may be hesitant to get in. While it can feel like a leap of faith to start, you are never too old to learn how to swim!

Why it is Important

While swimming is not an instinctual skill for humans, there is never a wrong time or age to learn! USA Swimming shares that when parents have no/low swimming skills, their children are unlikely to have proficient swimming skills. 

This affects 64% of African American children, 45% of Hispanic/Latinx children, and 40% of Caucasian children. Learning to swim as an adult will show your children that you are never to learn a new skill! 

We all have different reasons for wanting to learn how to swim at any age. All reasons are valid, and for some, the reason may be overcoming their fear of water. We encourage you to search in your area for facilities and instructors that work with fearful adults. 

It is also important to share with your instructor your reasoning for wanting to learn. If you have some fears, we encourage you to share those too. 

How to Get Started

Where to begin, you ask? Well, you can follow a similar path when looking for a swimming program for your child. There are many groups and organizations that offer adult-only swimming lessons. 

There are often instructors that work specifically and only with adults to help you get comfortable in the water and to build up your skills. You can find NDPA resources to adapt for yourself by using our Swim Lesson Decision Chart and Checklist to help find the best type of swimming lessons to fit your needs.

Finding your Best Fit

Swimming programs often offer one on one instruction or small-group instruction. Both are valuable, and you can pick which one is best for you. Starting swimming lessons as an adult can feel like a big task, so know that you can follow some of the tips on the swim program checklist for finding your children’s swimming lessons. 

This can include items like going into the facilities and familiarizing yourself with the layout, and even asking if you can meet the instructor for the first class. Remember, there is a facility and instructor out there for you! 

NDPA Resources

Water competency is one of NDPA’s 5 Layers of Protection that help you, your family, and your community to be safer around water. By learning how to swim as an adult, you are showing your children, family, and community that you are taking water safety seriously.

The water can be a really fun place to go to, and you are taking the first steps (and splashes) to be safer and more prepared being in and around the water. 

Whether you are an adult learning how to swim because you have a vacation coming up, want to be comfortable in the water, or want to show your children that swimming is an important skill to know and learn, you can find the right swimming program for you! 

There is no age limit on learning how to swim, so grab your swimsuit and towel, and get ready to build up your swimming ability. See you in the water soon!

For decades public swimming pools have played a vital role in America’s cities and towns, especially during the summer months. Countless families have fond memories of embarking on aquatic adventures to their local swimming pool. 

What makes public pool facilities special are the people and programs that work together to provide meaningful experiences for families and allow them to push themselves to greater heights. The impact can be seen through the countless communities, rural and urban, that have welcomed families, camps, and water safety initiatives.

Public Swimming Pools Foster a Sense of Community

Public swimming pools serve as more than just a place to cool off on hot summer days. They’re catalysts for fostering a sense of community. These pools provide opportunities to meet new people and reconnect with friends from school or the neighborhood, turning the local pool into a vibrant social hub. 

Most often, public swimming pools are the site of various community events, like barbecues and block parties, bringing people together and encouraging socialization for adults, teens, and kids. Communities are able to come together, creating lasting connections and promoting a sense of belonging for everyone involved.

Promote Fitness for Whole Family

Beyond building a sense of community, public swimming pools offer a fantastic opportunity for families to prioritize their fitness goals. Whether it’s for physical well-being or mental health, swimming provides a refreshing physical outlet suitable for all ages.

Swimming is a low-impact exercise that benefits cardiovascular health, muscular strength, and endurance. Public swimming pools allow people to engage in physical activity while still enjoying the environment. Swimming also offers numerous health benefits beyond physical fitness. It can help reduce stress, improve mental health, and promote relaxation. 

Moreover, public swimming pools offer the added benefit of fostering family bonding and creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Increase Public Safety

Public pools play a vital role in enhancing public safety through various initiatives. By offering swimming lessons and general water safety courses, they empower individuals with the essential lifesaving skills to navigate water environments confidently. 

Additionally, lifeguard training programs ensure there are well-trained professionals on-site to prevent accidents and respond promptly in emergencies. With a focus on education and preparedness, public swimming pools serve as a crucial community resource that promotes the safety of the general public.

Offer Career and Volunteer Opportunities

Public pools provide abundant career and volunteer opportunities, fostering the growth of various professions. From ensuring safety as lifeguards to maintaining pool hygiene, individuals can thrive in roles such as pool maintenance technicians, swim instructors, swim coaches, and aquatic managers/directors. 

Additionally, public pools serve as platforms for community outreach programs, creating avenues for personal and professional development. Young teens often find themselves occupied over the long summers with social programs or lifeguarding. This keeps them busy, and establishes a sense of personal responsibility to the community at large. It goes a long way in understanding the types of careers they want to pursue.

Public Swimming Pools Promote Water Accessibility

Public pools are instrumental in promoting water accessibility for both urban and rural areas where access to water and water safety education is limited. They provide a supervised environment for people of all backgrounds to enjoy swimming and aquatic activities, and give underserved communities the opportunity to change their relationship with water. 

Whether in bustling urban centers or remote rural communities, public pools offer a gateway to water recreation, fostering physical fitness, relaxation, and social interaction. By bridging the gap between people and water, public swimming pools play a vital role in enhancing the overall health of individuals and our communities.

What was once an amenity for the wealthy, has become a cornerstone of our communities, and a place for people of every class and ethnic background to play together. By providing these accessible and inclusive spaces for recreation and relaxation, public pools positively impact individuals and communities, contributing to a healthier, happier, and more connected society.

It’s summertime, and you know what that means: sun, swimsuits, and parties at the pool, which means pool party safety is a must! If you’re a pool owner or in the aquatics industry, you’re excited to help friends, family, and patrons enjoy a refreshing summer dip. However, pool parties are not all about fun and games; pool party safety must be a top priority. 

Here are 15 pool party safety tips to ensure everyone at your party can stay safe and make a splash!

1. Fence the Pool Area

A pool fence isn’t just for aesthetics; it’s the first layer of protection needed to prevent unintentional drowning incidents. It secures the area against unsupervised access to the water, particularly for young children and pets.
Since you can’t always keep your eyes on the water, it is essential to use physical barriers to restrict access and alarms to alert you. Click here to learn more about barriers and alarms as a layer of protection against drowning.

2. Regular Equipment Checks

It’s crucial to regularly check your pool equipment, like ladders, diving boards, and slides, to ensure they are safe and secure, especially if a pool party is about to happen. A faulty step or loose bolt can lead to accidents entirely preventable with routine inspections.

3. Display and Enforce Pool Rules 

The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes the importance of displaying pool rules as a preventative measure. Whether it’s a residential pool or a community facility, displaying pool rules is vital. 
No running, pushing, no swimming alone, or diving in shallow ends – these standard rules can prevent most pool-related accidents. To enforce these rules consistently and ensure everyone’s safety, download the NDPA pool rules signs.

4. Designate a Water Watcher

Even the most experienced swimmers can face difficulties. That’s why having constant and capable supervision is a must, especially when children are present. Adults should be actively watching the kids in the water, ready to step in immediately if something goes wrong. Remember, drowning is fast and silent, so this should be a direct responsibility for someone around the pool. If everyone is watching, no one is watching.

Identify the designated water watcher with one of our Water Watcher Tags. Just download, print, and be sure it is visible at all times.

5. Consider a Lifeguard 

For larger parties or public pools, consider having a certified lifeguard(s) on duty. They are trained to spot potential dangers and react swiftly in emergencies.

6. Conduct a Swim Test

Conducting a swim test is a great way to identify weak and non-swimmers. For weak or non-swimmers, a parent should be in the water with them at all times practicing touch supervision (being able to reach out and touch the child at all times).

7. Establish a Designated Swim Area

If your pool is large or has deep ends, guests should be instructed to keep weak and non-swimmers in shallow areas and practice touch supervision at all times.

8. CPR & First Aid Training

Accidents happen, and knowing basic first aid and CPR can make a big difference. Learning CPR with rescue breaths is critical if an aquatic emergency happens. Have a well-stocked first aid kit accessible, and consider taking a first aid course to deal with minor injuries like cuts or bruises.

9. Proper Lighting

If your pool party stretches into the evening, ensure your pool area is well-lit, both in and out of the water. Good lighting can prevent accidents and help in spotting a person in distress.

10. Keep it Clean

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), maintaining a clean and healthy pool environment is essential to minimize harmful bacteria and algae that can cause infections or illnesses. 

Regularly check and adjust the pool’s pH levels to ensure they’re within a safe range. This minimizes harmful bacteria and algae that can cause infections or illnesses. Ensuring your pool’s pH levels are within the recommended range of 7.2 – 7.8 is an effective way to achieve this.

11. Alcohol Consumption

While pool parties often involve a few drinks, monitor alcohol consumption. Consuming alcohol and swimming is dangerous, so encourage guests to drink responsibly. Water watchers and those responsible for pool party safety must abstain from drinking. 

12. Electrical Safety

Ensure all outdoor electrical equipment, such as lighting or sound systems, is suitable for outdoor use, properly installed, and away from the pool to prevent electrocution.

13. Slip-Resistant Surfaces

Wet surfaces can be slippery and hazardous. Install slip-resistant surfaces around the pool area to prevent accidental slips and falls.

14. Regular Hydration & Sun Protection

Heatstroke is a serious concern during hot summer days. Provide plenty of water for your guests and encourage regular hydration, especially for those active in the water. Also, encourage the use of sunscreen with an appropriate SPF for the location and activity.

15. Pool Safety Education

Last but not least, educating guests about pool safety can be highly effective. Awareness is key to prevention, whether it’s a quick briefing before the party or formal education sessions. Check out our Water Safety Toolkit for posters, resources, and talking points to keep your community informed.

If you’re planning a pool party, we have a number of resources available to help you get yourself and your pool ready for the festivities. You can start by downloading the NDPA Pool Safety Checklist. Use this checklist to make sure your backyard oasis is pool party ready, or use it as a checkpoint for any facilities you might be hosting your party at.

Pool parties are a fun part of the summer season. Keep these tips in mind and create a safe, enjoyable environment for everyone. 

Have you created a water safety plan for your upcoming vacation?

Now that school’s out for the summer, families from all over will flock to vacation spots, water parks, pools, and beaches for fun in the sun. There’s nothing better than a good vacation, but things can turn from fun to tragic in an instant. Sadly, drowning remains the single leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4 in the United States. 

Here are some ways to help your family prepare for being in and around the water during your next family vacation.

family creating water safety plan

Develop A Water Safety Plan With Your Family BEFORE Your Vacation

It’s important to be proactive when it comes to water safety. Sitting your family down to create a family water safety plan will help ensure everyone is on the same page in case of an emergency.

  1. Start by having all adults and teens review the 5 Layers of Protection
  2. We recommend having all family members sign up for swimming lessons and CPR/first aid classes before any vacation. Whether introducing or refreshing, continuous practice and proficiency can mean the difference between life and death.
  3. When booking accommodations, make sure that your accommodations have the 5 Layers of Protection in place. Use our Vacation Water Safety Checklists to help with your planning, booking, and packing! 
  4. Have all adults take a water rescue training class from a qualified instructor in case rescue or CPR is necessary.
  5. To ensure a quick response to emergencies, make sure the address and an emergency contact list are clearly displayed at the property and are easily accessible. 
  6. Identifying potential dangers and water features in and around the property you will be staying at to address any risks immediately upon arrival.
  7. Bring a printed copy of these Pool Rules Signs with you as a reminder for kids, family members, and guests that are visiting with you at your vacation spot.
  8. Children should never be left unsupervised. Choose a capable adult as the designated “water watcher” to keep a vigilant eye on kids in and around the water. Print out our Water Watcher Cards and bring these with you!   
  9. Bring portable door alarms for your hotel/AirBnB’s sliding doors and front doors to alert you of a child potentially leaving the room or house. 
  10. Bring personal alarms for little swimmers or pets! Always keep in mind that alarms should never be a replacement for capable adult supervision.
  11. Make sure everyone brings a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket in their size for all water sports, boating, and open water activities. 

Take the initiative and make water safety a priority on your next family vacation to help change the statistics for drowning. 

Reacting To A Water Emergency

In the face of a water emergency, every second counts. Reacting swiftly and confidently can save a life. Here are some things we recommend your family be well versed in and prepared for:

  1. If a loved one, especially a child, goes missing, always check the water first. If the missing person cannot be found, call 9-1-1 and enlist assistance while searching.
  2. If someone is found in the water, the first step is removing them from the water and laying them on a flat surface. 
  3. Call 9-1-1 immediately and give them the exact address for where you are located.
  4. While waiting for paramedics to arrive, provide CPR with rescue breaths to help sustain their vital functions. (You can alternate while waiting for emergency services to come, but do not stop).

Remember, being prepared and acting decisively in water emergencies can be life-saving. Stay vigilant, remain calm, and take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of those involved.

family safe with water safety plan

Water Safety Plan Best Practices During Your Vacation

Once you arrive at your destination, the real work begins. Before diving into the fun, set aside some time to review your water safety plan as a family. Take the first hour or so to review emergency procedures and water safety regulations. Everyone should be present and on the same page when it comes to vacation safety! Here are some best practices for you to exercise and keep at the top of your mind: 

  • Always remember that the 5 Layers of Protection are portable! Meaning you can consistently implement them to varying degrees while you’re out. 
  • Educate children on the extreme importance of water safety, and ensure that adults understand the latest statistics surrounding drowning incidents.
  • No one should ever be exploring or wandering the property alone. This is a general rule of thumb for all family members, so encourage all members of your group to use a buddy system!
  • Always exercise water safety precautions around open water and pools. There are significant variables to consider around open water, like weather and water conditions, beach flag warning systems, and staying close to lifeguard stations. 

Water safety is everyone’s responsibility, and ensuring the well-being of loved ones requires a comprehensive water safety plan. 

By involving everyone and fostering a culture of awareness, you can ensure that your family’s vacation remains an enjoyable experience for years to come!

Residential pool signs main blog image

If you’ve ever been to a public or private pool, you’ve likely seen pool rules sign posted
somewhere in the area. Pool rule signs serve an important purpose in ensuring the safety
and enjoyment of everyone who uses the pool, especially in a backyard setting.

They outline important rules and regulations that swimmers need to follow to prevent
accidents and injuries. Whether you’re a pool owner or just a regular swimmer,
understanding these rules is essential to having a fun and safe time in and around the pool.

Pool Rules

  1. No diving
  2. Use the 5 Layers of Protection
    • Barriers And Alarms
    • Supervision
    • Water Competency
    • Life Jackets
    • Emergency Preparation
  3. Lock all gates and remove ladders & pool toys
  4. Learn CPR With rescue breaths
  5. Have water rescue devices nearby

In case of an emergency, call 911, and don’t forget to add your home address to your pool

rules sign after printing.

Match Your Sign To Your Style!

Everyone’s style is different, especially with upcoming summer pool parties. Knowing this,
we created three different style options to match your party theme or home aesthetic!

  1. Farmhouse – if you’re inspired by rustic charm that is both cozy and stylish.
  2. Modern – if you’re inspired by clean geometry and a neutral palette.
  3. Beachy – if you’re inspired by tropical paradise and bold bright colors.

Recommended printing dimensions are 8.5 in x 11 in. Take it to your local printer to have it printed on aluminum or metal! Have fun with it, but be sure that the pool rules are visible from any place in and around the pool.

Water Safety is a Lifelong Endeavor

If you own or operate a pool, it’s imperative that you have a pool rules sign posted
somewhere that is easy to read and highly visible. Our pool rules signs are designed to keep
water safety accessible to everyone and establish that you take water safety precautions
seriously in your home.

Download and share with friends or others in your community!

We’d love to see your signs in action! Snap a picture of your pool rules sign and tag

us on our social media @drowningalliance.

Water Safety Month Main Blog image

Looking forward to upcoming vacations, time off, or fun in the sun? Don’t forget that this time of year is especially important to help raise awareness about the importance of water safety and drowning prevention! 

Drowning can happen quickly and when your guard is down, so whether you’re planning on going to the beach, the pool, or will be enjoying other water activities, it’s crucial to understand the risks and take the necessary precautions to keep you and your loved ones safe. 

What is Water Safety Month?

National Water Safety Month is an annual awareness campaign coordinated by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance with support from the American Red Cross, National Drowning Prevention Alliance, National Recreation and Park Association, and World Waterpark Association.

Swim activity increases during the month of May, with many home and community pools now in regular use, camps welcoming new recruits, and beaches flooded with tourists and locals alike. 

Knowing this, the National Recreation and Park Association, along with the  World Waterpark Association (WWA), determined that more needed to be done in order to raise awareness about water safety.

What began as an annual week of water safety awareness flourished into a now month-long initiative aimed at reducing the amount of drowning tragedies across the globe. 

Swimming group with goggles for water safety month

Why Is Water Safety Month Important?

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death worldwide. It happens quickly and silently and is never what you think. Even non-fatal accidents can have devastating long-term effects. 

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), every year in the United States alone, there are an estimated 4,000 fatal accidental drownings (about 11 drowning deaths per day) and 8,000 non-fatal drownings (about 22 non-fatal drownings per day).

Our goal in reducing the number of drownings every year requires comprehensive education about water safety and drowning prevention shared by everyone. By partnering with other organizations, we have the opportunity to spread the message of drowning prevention on a much larger scale. Drowning can happen to anyone, and it takes awareness and support from all of us to prevent a tragedy. 

Diverse kids swimming for water safety month

5 Ways You Can Practice Water Safety This May

This month is dedicated to educating families and individuals on how to stay safe in and around water. There are so many ways to advocate for water safety, so we’ve narrowed it down! 

Here are 5 ways to celebrate water safety in your community:

  1. Encourage others to be Water Safety Champions!
    • Water Safety Champions are people dedicated to finding solutions and advocating for safe play and necessary precautions in and around water. By signing up, you can access exclusive free downloads, social content, printables, and other free resources in your Water Safety Champion toolkit.
  1. Educate your friends and family about water safety and drowning:
    • Learn water safety and drowning misnomers: Terms such as ‘dry,’ ‘wet,’ ‘near,’ ‘silent,’ and ‘secondary’ drowning are all misnomers that are commonly used in the media and should not be used when speaking of drowning incidents.
    • Know what drowning looks like: The body is vertical, with the head instinctively tilted back as the victim tries to keep the airways clear of water. Victims typically face shore in open waters like lakes, rivers, or beaches. There are signs of movement but no signs of progress in the water. Drowning is also silent, with the victim not able to call out for help. 70% of toddler drownings happen during non-swim times. 
  1. Learn and Practice the 5 Layers of Protection:
    • Barriers & Alarms
    • Supervision
    • Water Competency
    • Life Jackets
    • Emergency Preparation
  1. Use and share NDPAs resources:
    • Use our free water safety resources, like books, coloring pages, flashcards, pool signs, and blogs to help keep water safety at the top of your family’s mind this summer. 
  1. Sign the “End The Misinformation” letter:
    • Floatation devices can be a tricky subject, and the language used to market and advertise flotation devices is misleading and can cost a life. Read and sign the “End the Misinformation” letter to help stop the spread of misinformation regarding children’s flotation devices.

While these are just a few ways for you and your community to get involved with education and advocacy for water safety month, there are still so many more, and we’ve made it even easier with our toolkit! 

Water Safety Season Toolkit

Wondering how to encourage Water Safety awareness in your organization or community?

We’ve created the Water Safety Season Toolkit to make it easy for you to spread the word about water safety and drowning prevention!

Our Water Safety Season Toolkit is the ultimate resource for getting the word out about water safety and drowning prevention, especially during the busiest recreational water activity months of the year.

This free toolkit includes a variety of resources that individuals, businesses, and coalitions can easily use to increase awareness of water safety and share the 5 Layers of Protection with ease. 

The toolkit Includes the following resources: 

  • Full summer social media campaign complete with graphics, animations, and videos with sample copy, hashtag strategies, and posting dates. 
  • Social frames that can be used on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
  • A digital asset library that includes posters, infographics, checklists, and our Water Watcher Card. 
  • Sample Blogs ready to post to your site and other digital platforms that cover basic and simple water safety information.
  • NDPA’s Press and Media Guide is designed to provide you with tips and tricks for working with your local media and critical water safety information that can be shared with the media and the general public.
  • A sample government proclamation to help your community officially recognize water safety month and celebrate it in your communities.
  • An invitation to all users to join the NDPA Water Warrior Facebook Group–a private Facebook group for water safety advocates and professionals to connect, share, collaborate, and learn. The group currently has close to 1,600 members. 

You can access our toolkit at

With the right education and training, we are steps closer to keeping our communities and families safe. Every step in the direction of advocating water safety is a step towards saving countless lives. This month, take some time to sit with your family and friends and empower them to take action in keeping everyone, especially your little ones, safe this summer and all year long! 

Be sure to follow the NDPA on our social media channels to follow along with our celebrations for National Water Safety Month @drownalliance.

CPR with rescue breaths main blog image

When an emergency occurs, we’re often left scrambling and grasping at solutions with very little time for preparation or action. But, in the case of water safety, learning drowning CPR can mean the difference between life and death. 

CPR with rescue breaths, is an important skill to learn because drowning is considered a hypoxic event – meaning the lack of oxygen affects all of the organs in the body.  

Knowing emergency procedures, like drowning CPR, is critical because they can triple the chances of survival after cardiac arrest.

drowning cpr practicing

What is Drowning CPR?

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is the act of repeated chest compressions of the chest in an attempt to restore or maintain blood circulation in the body of someone who has gone into cardiac arrest. 

Rescue breathing is the process of blowing air into someone’s mouth who has stopped breathing to ensure that they stay oxygenated to further prevent the damage of cardiac arrest.

These two practices used together are known as drowning CPR. When used immediately, these practices have proven to be effective in reducing the likelihood of death by drowning or asphyxiation (loss of oxygen flow to the body).

Why Do We Use Drowning CPR?

Performing CPR with rescue breaths on a drowning victim is essential to maintaining blood flow and oxygenation to the brain.

In a hypoxic event, like drowning, the flow of oxygen supplied to the brain is slowed or stopped, resulting in eventual respiratory and cardiac arrest. 

According to the Health & Safety Institute, room air has an oxygen level of about 21%. Exhaled air has an oxygen level of about 16-17%, which is enough to support life in a critical emergency.

When you combine rescue breaths with chest compressions, you increase the oxygen level in the victim’s blood and are able to simulate respiration with a life-sustaining amount of breathed oxygen, thus saving their organs.

Drowning CPR is an integral part of Emergency Preparation as a layer of protection and, when used properly, can be a life-saving action.

drowning cpr class

How and When To Perform Drowning CPR:

First and foremost, if you ever encounter a victim who is not breathing, ALWAYS call 911 or have someone at the scene do so before trying to perform drowning CPR.

The underlying principles of CPR remain the same. Still, the amount of force and hand use varies depending on the victim’s age. 

The following steps are as advised by the American Red Cross. If you are ever in a position where you must perform drowning CPR, always remember that proper training and certification for CPR must be refreshed every 1-2 years, especially if there are recent changes in recommendations from the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. 

For Adults

  1. Immediately call 911
  2. Check for responsiveness using the Shout-Tap-Shout.
    1. Shout to get a response, tap on the shoulder (or bottom of the foot for babies),  shout again.
  3. Place the victim on their back on a firm and flat surface.
  4. Place two hands centered on the chest, your shoulders directly over your hands, and give 30 chest compressions at a depth of 2 inches. Allow their chest to return to normal after each compression.
  5. Open the victim’s airway using the head-tilt technique. Pinch the nose shut, take a normal breath, and make a complete seal over the person’s mouth with your mouth or a rescue mask (if available).
  6. Ensure each breath lasts about 1 second and you see the victim’s chest rise. Allow air to exit before administering the next breath.
  7. Do not stop until help arrives or until you notice an obvious sign of life.

When a trained professional arrives, clear a pathway and find a first responder to relay any known information about the drowning event to them.  

For Children and Infants :

  • If performing drowning CPR on an infant, use two thumbs side by side at the center of the baby’s chest. Alternatively, you can use two fingers placed parallel to the chest in the center of the chest, performing compressions to a depth of 1 1/2 inches.
  • Drowning CPR is vital to the survival of infants and children as their oxygen levels immediately decrease in cardiac arrest due to the lack of oxygen flow. 

According to the Health & Safety Institute, infants and children are more likely to suffer from asphyxiation due to a constriction in the airway, making rescue breaths even more essential. 

If you are reluctant or unable to perform rescue breaths, hands-only CPR is better than no CPR.

Drowning CPR Can Save Lives

CPR training is essential for medical professionals, first responders, and anyone who wants to be prepared to respond to an emergency like a drowning incident. Anyone living in a home with a pool or frequently around water should become CPR certified, focusing on CPR with rescue breaths.

Many organizations require all babysitters, teachers, and caregivers to have current CPR training and certification. In groups, it is recommended that at least one person should know CPR or have undergone CPR training.  

Proper training and certification should be refreshed every 1-2 years or more frequently if there have been recent changes in recommendations.

drowning cpr swimming class

To find a CPR and First Aid class near you, check with your local hospital, fire department, or use the American Heart Association or American Red Cross Websites. 

Drowning CPR is a life-saving technique that, when done properly, can significantly increase the rate of survival for a drowning victim or someone suffering from asphyxiation. 

It is an important part of emergency preparation as a layer of protection Though the technique varies across age ranges, the underlying fundamentals of the practice remain the same. 

Timing is of the utmost importance. If you are not trained in CPR with rescue breaths, consider taking a class to learn these life-saving skills.

To learn more about emergency preparation techniques for drowning prevention, visit

10 open water safety tips

Lakes, beaches, and rivers are popular destinations for families during spring break and the summer season. It’s the best way to have some fun family time and remain cool as soon as temperatures rise. Consider the open-water safety tips below if you decide to go this route on your next vacation.

Most children in the U.S. drown in open water, which includes natural bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans, as well as man-made bodies of water like canals, reservoirs, and retention ponds. In 2016, open-water drownings made up 43 percent of fatal childhood drownings.*

Beaches are a favorite destination during the summer months

The first thing needed to prevent drowning incidents when in open water is learning how to swim, which has proven to be a lifesaving skill that can reduce the chances of drowning by 88%. Following the open water safety tips below will also ensure you have the most amount of fun by reducing the risks and hazards that come with open water.

1. Swim in a Designated Swimming Area

Most state parks, beaches, and lakefront areas have designated times when swimming is allowed and use flags to indicate borders in which people can swim. Never swim outside those defined areas. Also, preferably swim under the supervision of a qualified lifeguard.

2. When in Doubt, Get Out

Don’t hesitate to get out of the water if something doesn’t feel right. Whether it’s that the current is getting rough, rain has started to fall, or your body is just not responding like you would like it to due to fatigue or muscle cramps, then just leave and return to the water another day. It’s always a good thing to trust your instincts.

3. Know the Weather and Water Conditions

Check the water temperature and weather conditions before hitting the water. If the water temperature is low, your best option would be to swim in a wetsuit and don’t stay too long in the water. Bear in mind it’s not safe to swim in the rain, particularly if there is thunder and lightning. If the weather changes, don’t hesitate to swim back to shore.

Black family at the beach

4. Never Swim Alone

When you head out into the open water, go with a “swim buddy,” someone who’s looking out for you and who you’re looking out for in turn. Remember, the lifeguard isn’t your “swim buddy”; they have lots of people to track when on duty and cannot be concerned with a particular person’s safety. Besides, you’ll probably have more fun swimming with a friend.

5. Choose the Right Equipment

It’s very important always to choose the right equipment for your open water activity: wetsuits if the water is cold, goggles if swimming, and so on. Please note that if water temperatures are over 75-80 degrees, a wetsuit might not be a good idea. Using one for extended periods could cause heat exhaustion.

6. Understand Currents

Uncontrollables are all part of experiencing the ocean and open bodies of water. Rip tides, other currents, and waves can all sweep you away from your swimming route. By choosing a static “beacon” on your boat or at the shore you’ll be able to determine if you are being swept away or not. If you do get caught in a riptide, don’t panic. Try to remain calm and swim parallel to shore to get out of it. If you try to swim against the current, you might get exhausted and really panic even more.

7. No Alcohol

Alcohol affects your perception of danger, making you more likely to take unnecessary risks. Alcohol also impairs your balance and coordination – all essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water. So don’t drink while in the water.

Kid with life vest on canoe

8. Wear a USCG-Approved Life Vest

Young children, weak swimmers, and everybody should wear life jackets whenever they are in, on, or around the water, even at a pool or a waterpark. It should be put on at the dock, deck, or shore and not removed until you return to dry land.

9. Have A Plan For Emergencies

Always have a plan to handle and face emergencies whenever you go out to the water with a swim buddy or alone. Tell someone else where you are going. Having someone watching from the shore, ready to take action should you need help, is wise. Plan for every possible incident and eliminate as much uncertainty as possible.

10. Swim Parallel to the Shore

If ever caught in a rip current, don’t let fear cloud your judgment. You could be swept away from shore very quickly. The best way to escape a rip current is by swimming parallel to the shore instead of towards it since most rip currents are an average of 100 feet wide. Try to relax and breathe, keeping your head above water, and don’t wear yourself out by trying to get out of the rip by swimming against the force of the current.

*Source: Hidden Hazards: An Exploration of Open Water Drowning and Risks for Children. Safe Kids Worldwide. May 2018.