Learning is a continuous process that is incredibly important in the water safety space, allowing us to stay up to date on current news, research and numbers. Learning not only happens in traditional settings such as workshops and training courses, but also through discussions with colleagues, sharing practical experience, and consulting newsletters, books, published research papers and audiovisual materials. 

The NDPA Resource Center strives to improve access to relevant information by collecting, categorizing and organizing materials that are useful to all members of the aquatics industry and drowning prevention advocates.

This new and exciting tool contains the following features:

  • NDPA Partner Directory
  • Drowning Prevention & Water Safety Resource Directory
  • Sharable Drowning Prevention Social Media Content
  • Resources for Task Forces & Coalitions
  • An Index of Drowning Prevention & Water Safety Literature containing over 300 entries
  • An Index of over 60 Regional, State, and National Water Safety, Drowning, and Injury Databases
  • NDPA & National Water Safety Conference Media Library

and so much more exclusively for NDPA Members.

Basic members enjoy the following benefits:

  • Use of the NDPA Member Logo.
  • Listed in NDPA Member directory.
  • Receive ALL NDPA Communications including the newsletter.
  • Free access to resources from the NDPA and our Partners.
  • Show your clients, friends, and family that you are part of the alliance to prevent drowning.
  • Task Force & Coalition Resources
  • Advocacy Information
  • Over 100 shareable drowning prevention social media images, infographics, and videos.

The following are the benefits reserved for Premium members:

  • $50 off 1 conference registration at Early Bird or Regular Rate.
  • Use of NDPA Member Logo.
  • Newsletter and communication subscription.
  • Free access to resources from the NDPA and our Partners.
  • Prime listing in NDPA Member directory.
  • Show your clients, friends, and family that you are part of the alliance to prevent drowning.
  • All Basic Member Benefits
  • NDPA Member & Partner Directory Access
  • Access to our Drowning Literature Directory that includes an index of over 300 research studies, reports, and other literature.
  • Access to our Drowning Data Hub that provides easy access to over 60 drowning and injury databases from across the United States.
  • Access to the NDPA Premium Video library that includes all past NDPA Webinars, select conference presentations, and more!

home water safety tips blog cover

Home pools and spas are, of course, drowning hazards which is why implementing layers of protection is so important.

Bearing in mind that drowning can happen in even a very little amount of water, think of all the other objects in your home that are full or potentially full of water: toilet bowls, unemptied tubs, sinks, bird baths, pet dishes… Babies and toddlers are naturally curious so having all these hazards in mind becomes increasingly important.

The following tips are meant to make your home safer:

Active Adult Supervision at All Times

  1. Your child must never be unattended when around water. Bear in mind that babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.
  2. When watching kids when they are in or around water, avoid any and all distractions. Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult (touch supervision).

Empty Tubs and Buckets After Use

  1. Immediately drain the tub once bath time is over.
  2. Empty buckets, containers and kiddie pools as soon as they are no longer in use and store them upside down. This is so they don’t collect water.

Keep Lids and Doors Closed

  1. Close toilet lids and consider using toilet seat locks to prevent drowning.
  2. Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed at all times.

Backyard Pools

  1. Watch kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult. Make sure older children swim with a partner every time.
  2. When children are swimming and there are several adults present, make sure kids are actively supervised at all times by choosing a Water Watcher. A Water Watcher is a responsible adult who agrees to watch the kids in the water without distractions and wear a Water Watcher card. After a certain amount of time (such as 15-minutes), the Water Watcher card is passed to another adult, who is responsible for the active supervision. Download a Water Watcher card here.
  3. Install fences around home pools. A pool fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least four feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.
  4. Teach children how to swim. Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development and how often they are around water.
  5. Make sure kids learn how to swim and develop these five water survival skills:
  • step or jump into water over their heads and return to the surface;
  • float or tread water for one minute; 
  • turn around in a full circle and find an exit
  • swim 25 yards to exit the water; and
  • exit the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.

Learn CPR

  1. Know what to do in an emergency. Learning CPR and basic water rescue skills may help you save a child’s life.

Source: Safe Kids Worldwide

The holidays are a time of lots of fun and activity in the average household. It is a time when most people are out of their normal, daily routine hosting family gatherings and celebrating with friends and neighbors. With all the hustle and bustle, accidents are more prone to happen which is why homeowners must make additional efforts to keep family members, guests and pets as safe as possible.

Bear in mind that ages and stages make a huge difference in home and water safety so be sure to take them into consideration when prepping your home for the December festivities because the littlest of details can make a huge difference.

The NDPA recently hosted an online webinar where our guest speakers shared a bevy of safety tips that can be easily applied during the holiday season. Here are a few basic precautions to ensure you and yours remain injury-free throughout the season.

  • Make a quick list of local emergency numbers to keep on hand and make copies for friends and family visiting. 
  • When cooking, set timers and always be attentive of what is on the stove to avoid fires.
  • Child safety should be delegated to someone who can actively supervise them without distractions. Hosts need to learn to “pass the baton” and make sure there is always someone watching the kids.
  • Walk your guests through your home and property and point out the layers of protection that are in place explaining what to be on the lookout for to make sure everyone is safe.
  • If you have open water areas on your property, set the rules as to where kids can go without an adult and be sure everyone is ware of them.
  • Designated watchers can play games to keep kids busy and occupied. Find fun ways to distract them so they don’t go our and seek entertainment on their own.
  • Use LED lights when decorating your home. They don’t get as hot as regular ones which means your tree won’t dry out so quickly and become a bigger fire hazard.
  • Make sure your tree is watered everyday to prevent early dryness.
  • Watch candle placements in your home and be sure they are far from curtains and not within reach of kids and pets. Be aware that they don’t burn down too low and crack the glass that encases them or that they burn the surface on which that are placed.
  • Put together a family newsletter in advance and send out before house-guests arrive. Go over it together and make sure the inherent safety message is well received.
  • A newsletter is also a great way to give family members information that can be shared with others such as emergency numbers, the exact address where they are staying and any emergency plan that you may have in place.
  • Make an action plan to get through an emergency that details who you are going to call and where you are going to go.
  • If the worst situation happens, be ready by knowing exactly where you are and where the nearest hospital  is. Try to stay calm during the emergency, call 911 and listen attentively to any instructions the operator might give you.
  • Learn CPR and make sure other family members and guests have this life-saving skill as well.

What safety measures do you have in place at home to prevent accidents during the holidays?

December is the biggest gift-giving month of the year. Parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents are buying massive amounts of toys and gifts to ensure kids have a wonderful holiday season.

Unfortunately, December is also the month in which thousands of children are injured every year as a result of playing with unsafe or non age appropriate toys.  In the United States, emergency rooms treated 251,800 toy-related injuries, according to the report issued last year from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 44 percent of the injuries were to the head and face area, the area of the body with the most injuries. An estimated 84,400 of all toy-related injuries, or 34 percent, happened to children younger than 5 years of age.

Prevent Blindness America declared December Safe Toys & Gifts Month in order to reduce the number of accidents and injuries suffered by children due to unsafe or inappropriate toys during the holidays. Take the time this month to re-cap on some basic safety advice and brush up on buying safe tips, appropriate toys and what to do should you discover a potential hazard.

It’s important to think about the safety of any gift you’re giving, especially if it’s a gift for a child. We’ve put together a list of toys and gifts that are not only safe in themselves but also promote water safety awareness which is the first step towards drowning prevention.

Books

Josh The Baby Otter

“Josh the Baby Otter” was created to help children comprehend and remember this important message: TO STAY AWAY FROM WATER UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT. It’s goal is to create a water safety behavior for all children that will be passed on from generation to generation.

Stewie The Duck Learns To Swim

Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim is an important and fun child’s first guide to water safety. Written for children ages two through six, the book conveys the message of how to be safe near the water through the story of Stewie, a duck who wants to swim with the “big ducks” but is prevented from going in the water by his older sisters until he learns the water safety rules.


The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim

The Polar Bear Who Couldn’t, Wouldn’t Swim follows the journey of a young polar bear named Zeke who is afraid of the water and refuses to swim. He leaves his home in search of other animals who do not swim, and ends up finding that he can enjoy the water if he follows the ABC and Ds of water safety, while learning a valuable lesson about facing his fears with a positive attitude.

Swimming Accessories

USCG approved lifevests

Getting kids to wear life jackets can be a cumbersome task — bulky neon padded vests don’t exactly shout cool.  But the risks of not wearing them are too great to ignore. The Center for Disease Control reports drowning to be the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death amongst children ages 1-14 behind motor vehicle crashes.  This can be a great gift that helps protect kids when in or near water.


Nekdoodle® Pool Toys and Accessories

Nekdoodle® offers a wide variety of pool toys and accessories for kids and adults such as pool floats for swimming, swim collars, pool noodles, water noodles, personal flotation devices, neck floats and foam noodles swimming.

Swim Water Shoes

Water shoes have a great many uses, and can do much more than flip-flops or sandals can. They will keep children’s feet protected from slips, sharp rocks, sunburns and much more making them a good choice as a holiday gift.

Toys

Stewie the Duck Swimtime Fun Bucket Kids Gift

This gift can help save a life! Upon purchase of this gift, a donation will be made to the Stew Leonard III Children’s Charities, which grants underprivileged children with FREE swim lessons.It includes a Stewie the Duck book,bright, sunshine yellow hooded towel featuring Stewie the Duck, a Stewie the Duck plush, and bath time toy. All bundled in a playful bucket and shovel set, with helpful water safety advice.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision offer some great guides for selecting suitable toys for Kids Ages 0 – 5 and Kids Ages 6 – 12.

Swim skills add a layer of protection to prevent drowning incidents.


Formal swimming lessons reduce the risk of drowning among children 1-4 years. This is the only sport that can actually save lives and can also reduce the risk of drowning among older individuals.

Everyone Should Learn To Swim 

Swimming is not an instinctive skill for humans. We can not survive in water unless we are taught how to swim. All adults and children should learn to swim.

Role of Swim Lessons 

Adults should be smart and aware and never consider children have been “drown proofed” because they’ve had swim lessons. Nothing will ever eliminate the risk of drowning because it simply doesn’t discriminate. Even an Olympic swimmer can drown.

When to Start 

Always speak with your pediatrician before considering any water safety/swimming lessons for children. With the right instruction, children can gain skills and a love for the water even at a young age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their policy statement regarding drowning prevention stating that swim lessons are beneficial for children starting around age 1, and may lower drowning rates.

Once parents have decided their child is developmentally ready for swim lessons, they should proceed to look for a program that has experienced, well-trained instructors and fits their budget.

Include Water Safety Education 

Ensure that swim instruction includes water safety and survival education at the appropriate developmental level.

Ideally, programs should teach ‘water competency’ too – the ability to get out of the water if your child ends up in the water unexpectedly.

Selecting a Program 

Check if the instructor is trained in swim instruction, child development, and currently certified in CPR (some are not). Observe classes before enrollment and monitor lessons for safety skills, the effectiveness of the instructor, the child’s reception to learning, and progress. Lessons should be continuous, year-round, not taken for just one season as skills need to be developed and maintained for life.

Even the best swim lessons cannot “drown-proof” a child, and we strongly recommend parents take the necessary steps to make their child’s environment safer. For homes with a pool, the most important safety measure is a 4-sided fence that completely surrounds the pool and isolates it from the house.

More swimmers will result in a healthier society, fewer drownings, and reduced healthcare costs for the country.

what are layers of protection

Drowning has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/ immersion in liquid.” The outcome of a drowning incident can be classified as “death,” “morbidity,” and “no morbidity”. The more common terms used in discussions are “fatal” or “nonfatal” drownings.

According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children 1-4 years, the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children 1-14 years, and is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for all ages in the United States. Water-related injuries also affect a significant number of American children. An estimated twenty percent of drowning victims suffer severe, permanent neurological disability.

Drowning is, however, preventable and the NDPA recognizes that multiple strategies are necessary in order to do so. The term “layers of protection” is one used to classify the majority of strategies directly affecting aquatic environments. Parents, caregivers, residential pool owners, aquatic facility owners, managers and operators should use “layers of protection” to provide a system of increased security to prevent unauthorized access to bodies of water, especially important for children. This means that multiple strategies or devices are used constantly and simultaneously.

“Layers of protection” include:

Supervision

Parents, adults and caregivers must actively supervise children at all times when in or near the water and be fully aware of potential dangers in all environments, such as when visiting other homes, while on vacation, or at public/community pools.

Always designate a water watcher to actively supervise children when in or near water.

Unfortunately, many drowning incidents have occurred when people are solely engaged in swimming or other water play, and adults know children are in the water and those adults are nearby.

Active supervision is the first and most important layer of protection needed to prevent drowning accidents. Always assign a water watcher when kids are in the water who will watch them at all times without any distractions.

Physical Layers

Fences are the first physical line of defense that restrict access to the pool.

Physical layers may also be considered as barriers and constitute the first line of physical defense that restrict unauthorized access to the pool or spa area in its entirety or prevent unauthorized access to the water in the pool or spa.

Bear in mind that barriers are not child proof, but they do provide layers of protection for a child when there is a lapse in adult supervision. Barriers give parents additional time to find a child before the unexpected can occur. (USCPSC).

Physical layers that limit access to the pool or spa area:

  • Fences, 
  • Gates 
  • Latches 
  • House doors 
Pool safety cover
Pool safety cover

Physical layers that restrict access to the water include:

  • Pool and spa safety covers (power-operated, semi-automatic or manual)
  • Pool safety nets
  • Winter safety covers

Learn to Swim

Swimming lessons should be considered an additional layer of protection needed to prevent drowning accidents. Surviving in the water becomes increasingly difficult without this life-saving skill. According to the CDC, formal swimming lessons can reduce the chances of drowning by 88 percent.

Image: Northern Beaches Council

When selecting a swimming class for your child, ensure it includes water safety and survival education at the appropriate developmental level.

Other than the layers listed above, there are additional layers needed in case an emergency should occur that include learning CPR, first aid and rescue knowledge.

Alarms

Alarms are an important addition to creating a safer environment. 

They can be added to windows, doors, gates and the pool to alert an adult when a barrier has been breached. While the primary goal of layers of protection is to prevent unauthorized access to the water, alarms are important to alert adults if access to the water has been made.  

Alarms can be your last line of defense and allow adults to respond to an emergency quicker.

Active adult supervision and pool barriers are two key layers of protection against child drowning and must always be present, but be aware that not even the most diligent parent or caregiver can actively supervise a child 24/7. Barriers can be breached which is why the NDPA urges using multiple strategies and devices simultaneously to help prevent injuries and deaths from drowning. 

Each additional layer or strategy beyond the first could be the one that saves a life so be sure to use as many as possible at all times.

For more detailed information, read our complete position paper here.