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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Learn and Practice the 5 Layers of Protection:
- Barriers & Alarms
- Water Competency
- Life Jackets
- Emergency Preparation
- 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.
- 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 https://ndpa.org/toolkit/.
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.