Tag Archive for: drowning prevention

Reports from 2020 demonstrated that ownership of residential swimming pools rose by 23%. While this represents an undeniable victory for the industry, it also has a tragic side. 

Drowning is still the single leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for ages 5-18.  

In light of the growing popularity of backyard swimming pools, residential pool and spa professionals have a unique opportunity to advocate for water safety. As experts in the pool industry, pool and spa professionals have comprehensive knowledge of the regulations needed to make public and residential pools, spas, and hot tubs safe by following resources such as the International Swimming Pool & Spa Code and PHTA Standards.

With the support of many of our new connections made at the PSP/Deck Expo 2022, and with our existing collaborators, we wanted to make advocating for water safety easy for pool and spa professionals while on the job. Keeping up with the latest advancements in the industry is vital for our pool builders and pool service professionals to keep their communities safe, which is why we designed our Water Safety Champion Program so pool and spa pros could easily add basic water safety awareness checks with their servicing.

The Importance of Water Safety in a Residential Setting

A residential pool and spa can be a beautiful oasis for homeowners, however, that does not diminish the risk of drowning hazards around the backyard and the home. 

Even in your backyard, drowning can occur in less than 30 seconds and with very little water, so it is crucial to implement the 5 Layers of Protection to help keep families safe. 

It is up to pool builders and pool service professionals to encourage water safety by making families aware of pool safety features that can aid in the prevention of drowning and the importance of having a safety plan put into place.

Learning about the best water safety strategies through the Layers of Protection and becoming a Water Safety Champion, residential pool and spa professionals can pass along vital information to their customers and community members beyond just routine maintenance. 

When Residential Pool & Spa Professionals Become Water Safety Champions: 

After sign-up, pool and spa pros will receive exclusive access to NDPA’s Residential Pool and Spa  Toolkit which includes: 

  • A personal Water Safety Champion Certificate showcasing their advocacy for water safety
  • A brandable Pool Safety Checklist to include with routine pool maintenance checks
  • Various tools and resources like:
    • The Layers of Protection Digital Brochure & Animated Video
    • Shareable Social Media Posts & Videos
    • GIFs & Stickers

By implementing the Layers of Protection and sharing their Water Safety Champion Status, residential pool and spa professionals can help protect the lives of children and work together to spread the word about drowning prevention and water safety to their clients.

Residential Pool & Spa Professionals, Become a Water Safety Champion Today!

From the moment children are born, parents often become aware of all the dangers that appear as they grow and become curious. Although most of these dangers are part of life, drowning is silent, quick, and can be fatal. According to the CDC, for every 1 fatal childhood drowning, there are another 8 nonfatal drownings that are seen in an emergency department. Thankfully, with the proper water safety strategies and advocacy, drowning is easily preventable. 

Along with our collective efforts, many pediatricians are now prioritizing drowning prevention initiatives beyond their offices. With the support of the NDPA’s Chief Medical Advisor and AAP (the American Academy of Pediatrics) president-elect Dr. Benjamin Hoffman and fellow NDPA medical advisor, Dr. Julie Gilchrist, we wanted to make water safety easily accessible to other pediatricians and medical advisors. 

To address the ever-present need to advocate for water safety beyond just their practices, NDPA has created an exclusive toolkit for pediatricians with the proper drowning prevention strategies  needed to share and advocate for water safety practices with their patients and parents.

Why Should Pediatricians Become Water Safety Champions?

Pediatricians are critical leaders in their field when it comes to child safety. They often see children for a large portion of their life and learn first-hand what concerns parents have for their children. By having a strong relationship with their patients and parents, pediatricians can uniquely position themselves as water safety advocates to address concerns about water-related injury incidents and drowning risks. 

By learning, advocating, and implementing the Layers of Protection, pediatricians can show parents that they care about more than just providing healthcare to their children, giving them the peace of mind that their children will be safe beyond office hours.

When Pediatricians Become A Water Safety Champion: 

After sign-up, pediatricians will receive exclusive access to NDPA’s Pediatrician Toolkit which includes: 

  • A personal Water Safety Champion Certificate showcasing their advocacy for water safety
  • Printable Water Watcher Cards
  • Awareness Posters to hang in offices
  • The Layers of Protection Digital Brochure
  • Shareable social media posts & videos
  • GIFs & Stickers

As Dr. Ben Hoffman states, “Kids need us. They can’t vote, so they need advocates. Pediatricians, by nature, are advocates by the work we can do, not only at the community level but the policy level to help systems change.” 

Drowning is a preventable tragedy, but it takes all of us to learn and advocate for the latest knowledge and standards for water safety. 

By implementing the Layers of Protection and their Water Safety Champion Status, pediatricians can help protect the lives of children and work together to spread the word about drowning prevention and water safety to their patients and parents.  

Pediatricians, it’s time to support your patients beyond the office by becoming a Water Safety Champion!

Commercial Aquatics Professionals and their facilities are in a unique position to advocate for water safety. With their experience in working with children and families in both educational and recreational settings, they can quickly deliver essential messages about water safety to populations of all ages and ability levels. 

We recognize the enormous work that goes into running and maintaining a commercial aquatic facility. It’s essential to make communicating critical water safety messages easy, which is why we launched the Water Safety Champion Program, which includes all the latest in drowning prevention information, free downloadable facility tools, and resources. 

What is a Water Safety Champion?

Despite our collective and tireless efforts, drowning is the single leading cause of death for children ages 1-4. While young children are at the highest risk, anyone can drown.  

To address the rise in drowning incidents, we have launched a Water Safety Champion Program providing the latest resources and education about the best water safety practices available to help prevent unintentional drowning and aquatic injuries. The water safety information covered in the 5 Layers of Protection resulted from years of research and collaboration with Alliance Partners and advisors.

Why Should Commercial Aquatics Professionals Become Water Safety Champions?

Although most drownings don’t happen at commercial aquatic facilities, they are still critical to bringing awareness to water safety in their communities and clients. Drownings can still happen anywhere in or near water, including pools, bathtubs, lakes, rivers – even buckets of water. 

By learning about the best water safety strategies through the Layers of Protection, and the Water Safety Champion program, commercial aquatics professionals can show patrons they care while playing a vital role in keeping their community safe in and around water. 

When Commercial Aquatics Professionals Become Water Safety Champions: 

After sign-up, commercial aquatics professionals will receive exclusive access to NDPA’s Commercial Aquatics Toolkit which includes: 

  • A personal Water Safety Champion Certificate showcasing their advocacy for water safety
  • A Water Safety Champion Facility Poster to display in their aquatic facility 
  • Various tools and resources like:
    • Awareness Posters
    • Printable Water Watcher Cards
    • GIFs & Stickers
    • The Layers of Protection Digital Brochure & Animated Video
    • Shareable Social Media Posts & Videos

By implementing the Layers of Protection and sharing their Water Safety Champion Status, commercial aquatics facilities can help protect the lives of children and work together to spread the word about drowning prevention and water safety to their patrons.  

While many commercial aquatic facilities face challenging times due to COVID-19, staffing shortages, and new regulations, we hope this program will support their continued efforts in drowning prevention and water safety! 

Commercial Aquatics Professionals, Become a Water Safety Champion Today!

As folks began to gather at the inaugural NDPA Research Summit in September there was an air of excitement knowing that collaboration to address research needs around the layers of protection will undoubtedly begin to reveal the most effective strategies for water safety and drowning prevention. While there were many familiar faces in the room, there were several I did not know. In particular was a mother who had suffered great loss and whose child’s story was critical to the conversation that day. As I introduced myself to this brave woman, she expressed concern that she did not have the right credentials to be in the room. Her humility touched me as there was no one more deserving of inclusion that day than this mother. She, more than anyone, knows that there is more work to be done.

We live in a world of immense beauty and deep pain, and sometimes it can be a challenge to be hopeful, but we must.  In order to achieve our highest possibilities as a community, and as people who love one another we should take a moment to examine ourselves and truly continue the important work that we do every day.  Our work is that light that shines in the darkness.  Our work is what brings comfort to so many.  We can be the example of what is possible; people who do not shy away from the hard conversations, or the hard work.   
 
Read the NDPA DEI Statement here.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. Most of these drowning deaths happen in home swimming pools which is why swimming pool barriers are so important in preventing unintentional drowning incidents.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has also shared the following statistics in the Pool or Spa Submersion: Estimated Nonfatal Drowning Injuries and Reported Drownings, 2022 Report :

  • On average, three hundred eighty-nine pool- or spa-related fatal drownings were registered between 2017 to 2019.
  • Seventy-five percent of fatal pool accidents of children 15 and under occurred at residential locations (home pool or neighbor’s pool).
  • Seventy-three percent of swimming pool drowning deaths involved children younger than five.
  • Seventeen percent of swimming pool-related drowning deaths among children younger than 15 happened in an above-ground pool.
  • Nine percent of those pediatric drowning deaths occurred in portable pools.
  • Pool- or spa-related, hospital-department-treated, nonfatal drowning injuries involving children younger than 15 years of age spiked 17 percent in 2021 with 6,800 injuries reported, compared to 2020 with 5,800.

Many of these drowning tragedies can be prevented by implementing swimming pool barriers and additional layers of protection

What are swimming pool barriers?

If you have a swimming pool on your property, you must take measures to keep your kids safe. The first measure is installing proper swimming pool barriers.

A swimming pool barrier is any physical barrier that separates the water from the rest of the yard or surrounding area, thus making it difficult for small children and animals to access the pool area. 

These physical barriers are an effective way to prevent unauthorized and unsupervised entry to the water.

Types of Swimming Pool Barriers

Swimming pool barriers can restrict access to the perimeter surrounding the pool (gate or fence) or directly limit access to the water (pool covers). Door alarms can also be considered as swimming pool barriers.

Pool Gates and Fences

All residential pools and spas should be surrounded on all four sides by a 4-foot tall fence with a self-closing and self-latching locking device. 

Families with young children and pets should install isolation fencing that separates the pool or spa area from the house or other structures. It should also restrict unauthorized access from neighbors’ yards, nearby buildings, and from inside the house. 

The latch release on all gates and fences should be at least 54 inches from the ground and entirely out of the reach of children. If a locking latch is used, it should be kept locked. Just be sure to store the key out of children’s reach and ensure all adults know where you keep it in an emergency. 

Gates should also open away from the pool and should never be propped open. When shut, pool owners must double-check the gates to confirm that the latching mechanism is securely fastened and that the gate was not accidentally left open. The pool gate should always be locked, mainly when the pool is not in use, to prevent kids from gaining access to the water.

Bear in mind that small children are curious and resourceful. Make sure any furniture that can be moved to serve as a ladder is kept outside the pool area, at least 4 feet away from the swimming pool barrier. Also, ensure that children and animals cannot dig soil loose from under the pool fence to crawl through to the other side.

Pool Covers

Safety covers are another layer of protection that can provide safety when the pool is not in use. They should cover the entire surface of the pool and be anchored securely.

When considering a pool safety cover, choose one that meets the ASTM International voluntary standard F1346-91 , a document that establishes safety cover requirements for swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, and wading pools. 

It’s also essential that covers are used and maintained correctly, such as promptly removing any rainwater that it has collected and not allowing children to play on it regardless of its stated weight allowance.

Door Alarms

If your home serves as one side of the swimming pool barrier, consider installing alarms on all doors leading to the pool area. 

Door alarms can help alert adults if and when a child goes near the pool area.

Safety Codes and Regulations for Pool Barriers

Sadly, no federal swimming pool barriers law exists in the United States. Without a legal framework that clearly defines residential pool owners’ guidelines to ensure safety, consumer and aquatic organizations have redacted and shared their own. 

Many communities have enacted safety regulations for barriers meant to keep residential in-ground and above-ground swimming pools safe. Parents who own these pools must implement the five layers of protection needed to reduce the chances of their kiddos accessing the family pool or spa without supervision and should be familiar with the following documents:

Safety Barrier Guidelines for Residential Pools

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has published a guide that outlines pool barrier guidelines that can help prevent drowning incidents involving young children by preventing them from entering the pool area without being supervised by an adult. They consider the variety of swimming pool barriers available and where each might be vulnerable to a child wanting to get on the other side.

The International Swimming Pool and Spa Code 

The ISPSC is also an important document to consider.  Written by the International Code Council and the Pool and Hot tub Alliance, it contains everything a pool contractor needs to make a residential swimming pool safe and operate efficiently. 

The adoption of the ISPSC can reduce drowning accidents by requiring barriers, compliant design, and slopes for entry and exit, work towards the elimination of entrapment incidents once and for all, and ensure that pools and spas are built using approved and safe materials. As a uniform building code adopted in 20 states and 171 local jurisdictions, the ISPSC plays a vital role in safeguarding backyard pools and spas throughout the country.

The Safety Benefits of Pool Fencing and Gates

A successful pool barrier prevents a child from getting over, under, and through a fence or gate. It also keeps kids from gaining access to the pool except when supervising adults are present. 

Regarding water safety, there is no such thing as being too cautious. A pool barrier is the first layer of protection needed to prevent accidental drownings. According to the CDC, having a swimming pool security fence reduces the likelihood of childhood drownings by 83%.

In addition to keeping kids and animals out, swimming pool barriers can also help keep debris and leaves from blowing into the pool. This can help keep the pool clean and reduce the time you must spend cleaning it.

Installing a swimming pool barrier is a simple and effective way to increase water safety in your backyard. Consider implementing safety measures at home for your family and reduce the chance of drowning.

Drowning is a preventable tragedy.  Every year, thousands of people die from drowning, and many more suffer from permanent disability as a result. The Drowning Prevention Symposium is an annual event hosted by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance that gathers experts to share the latest water safety data and research with the common goal of reducing the number of drowning incidents in the country.  

This year’s symposium will be held on October 13th & 14th at the 2022 World Aquatic Health Conference in Houston, TX.  Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from the leading experts in the field and network with other professionals working to prevent drownings at both events if attending in person. You can also register to participate in the symposium virtually from the comfort of your home or office.

The Drowning Prevention Symposium is the perfect opportunity to learn about the latest water safety data and research. In an effort to prevent more drownings, we will be discussing critical water safety topics that include:

  • The newest water safety data and research, 
  • How to increase water safety advocacy in communities, counties, and states
  • How the commercial crisis affects our work in water safety. 
  • Advocating for legislation & adoption of standards and codes,
  • Update on the US National Water Safety Action Plan development.

With these discussions, it is hoped that more people will be equipped to prevent drownings. 

This symposium provides an essential platform for sharing life-saving information about water safety. It is a crucial step in ensuring that more people are aware of the dangers of drowning and how to prevent it.

This is a critical event for all members of the aquatics community and water safety advocates that should not be missed. 

Register today to ensure your spot at the symposium!

Click to here register for the in-person event.

Click to here register for the virtual event.

Check out the Virtual Drowning Prevention Symposium Agenda here.

National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) Assembles Experts Across Disciplines to Address the Critical Issue of Childhood Drowning.

SAN DIEGO, September 15, 2022 – On September 13-14, 2022 the National Drowning Prevention Alliance hosted the industry’s first research summit solely dedicated to water safety and drowning prevention for children and adolescents – a critical issue and the single leading cause of death among children ages 1-4 years old.


The National Childhood Drowning Prevention Research Summit was held in San Diego, California and brought together more than 45 researchers and experts from across the country and internationally who have dedicated their careers to the safety and well-being of children.

Hosted by NDPA and moderated by Doyle Strategies, which has led similar summits on child and gun safety, the group included professionals from the governmental, academic, medical, public health and private sectors, including representatives from American Academy Pediatrics, American Red Cross, YMCA, Harvard University, Baylor University, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and other leading organizations and advocates.


“The body of data available for drowning prevention has been historically weak leaving us to use best practices instead of evidence-informed approaches,” said Adam Katchmarchi, Ph.D., M.S., Executive Director, NDPA. “Our goal is to change that and bring all stakeholders together to collaborate on a unified research agenda.”

During the two-day meeting, summit participants discussed the research gaps in the literature surrounding childhood drowning prevention and water safety and prioritized a short- and long-term research agenda based on need and feasibility, while fostering unity among the industry sectors represented.


“It was incredible to see all of the national leaders in child drowning prevention gathered in one room, working together to address this epidemic,” said Ben Hoffman, M.D., Chief Medical Advisor, NDPA and Professor of Pediatrics, Oregon Health & Science University. “There is so much we do not know about how to prevent drowning, and the issue has never received the attention warranted by the magnitude of the problem. It was amazing to see how the group really dug in and did the hard work to ask the right questions and identify the key issues and potential solutions. This was a crucial first step in the process
of preventing drowning among kids.”


With focused discussions on the existing data and science, and actionable work needed to define future research directions and priorities to advance policy and prevention efforts, the summit program included a networking session and a review of research currently underway at CDC. Small, collaborative, interprofessional groups also assessed research needs around four of the established preventive layers of protection – barriers, supervision, water competency, and life jackets.

“I think a better understanding of all of the circumstances around drowning in every environment is going to be critical in order to develop, implement and evaluate drowning prevention strategies,” said Lois Lee, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School. “

Following the summit, an evidence review and preliminary conclusions will be compiled and shared with both research and non-research-related qualified stakeholders to weigh in on the results and outcomes.

Post event stakeholder engagement will be conducted via focus groups, interviews, and survey with the goal of gaining insight into areas of consensus and disagreement on proposed research priorities. An overall research summit summary report, in addition to summary reports on identified themes, will be released by NDPA among stakeholder groups.

The Drowning Prevention Research Summit was made possible through the generous funding of the Chuck & Ernestina Kreutzkamp Foundation.

About National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA)
The mission of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance is “United, we can prevent the tragedy of drowning.” Through education, awareness, and advocacy, NDPA seeks to reduce the incidence of drowning and aquatic injuries in the United States and abroad and to address the single leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 4. To learn more, visit ndpa.org.

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Dr Ben Hoffman Voted AAP President-elect

Benjamin D. Hoffman, M.D., FAAP, of Portland, Ore., has been voted AAP president-elect. He ran against Warren M. Seigel, M.D., M.B.A., FSAHM, FAAP, of Kew Gardens, N.Y.

Dr. Hoffman will take over as president on Jan. 1, 2024, following Sandy L. Chung, M.D., FAAP, of Fairfax, Va., who will serve as president in 2023. Read more about Dr. Hoffman’s background at https://bit.ly/DrBenHoffman.

Results for additional AAP national offices are below. Those elected will take office on Jan. 1, 2023.

At-large Board Member

Joelle N. Simpson, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP

District I Chairperson

Patricia J. Flanagan, M.D., FAAP

District II National Nominating Committee Representative

Lisa B. Handwerker, M.D., FAAP

District V National Nominating Committee Representative

Nakia Venise Allen, M.D., FAAP

District IX National Nominating Committee Representative

Katherine Williamson, M.D., FAAP

There were no position vacancies in Districts III, IV, VI, VII VIII or X.

Originally posted here.

Dry Drowning does not exist

Death is in itself a tragic occurrence, but even more so when it is a child’s caused by drowning. 

Drowning is preventable, but this requires education and knowledge about what it is, how it happens, and the strategies needed to avoid such sad incidents from taking place, strategies such as layers of protection. Unfortunately, there is significant misinformation in the media and the general public about drowning terms. Misnomers such as “dry drowning” (also known as “secondary drowning”) are misleading and inaccurate. 

Furthermore, we must work to eradicate the use of these misnomers because dry drowning does not exist. 

Drowning Is A Leading Cause Of Injury Death

According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. It is also a common cause of pediatric death. 

CDC data recently published confirms “that there are around 4,000 unintentional drowning deaths and another 8,000 nonfatal drownings that require treatment in an emergency department every year in the United States (…) Drowning is one of the top three leading causes of unintentional injury death among persons aged ≤29 years and more children aged 1–4 years die from drowning than from any other cause, except birth defects.”

What is Drowning?

The World Health Organization has defined drowning as “the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in liquid.” 

Drowning has only three subtypes: 

  • Fatal drowning: a drowning incident followed by death. 
  • Nonfatal drowning with injury: the drowning victim has sustained injuries or complications that have not proven fatal.
  • Nonfatal drowning without injury: the drowning victim endured a drowning incident that did not cause injury or death.

These terms were all agreed upon by organizations that have a vested interest in water safety and drowning prevention, such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Heart Association, and the American Red Cross in 2002 at the World Congress on Drowning. 

Drowning Is Never Dry

Drowning is, therefore, an event that requires water. Put plainly, drowning cannot occur without exposure to liquid and the subsequent and immediate respiratory problem that this situation brings. Without water, there cannot be a drowning incident because drowning is never dry.

For a drowning event to occur, the child or adult must have been submerged in water. Drowning cannot happen by swallowing water or simply playing with it.  

“Dry drowning” is not an approved medical term.  It has been coined and used by the media to describe incidents when the lungs of drowning victims have appeared to contain no water, which could have been the result of laryngospasm. This involuntary reaction causes the body to forcefully close its airways so water or liquid cannot enter the lungs.

Dry drowning or secondary drowning are terms coined by the media and considered misnomers by the medical community and its organizations. These same organizations have been quite vocal about the need to cease the use of such terms that create fear and confusion in the public and serve no educational or medical purpose at all.

How Can Drowning Be Prevented?

The dangers of drowning are genuine. Parents, caregivers, pool owners, and members of the aquatic community must all be well aware that prevention is an essential tool we have against drowning.

Drowning can be prevented by implementing layers of protection wherever possible and needed. You can begin with the following:

  • Installing four-sided fences around your pool with self-closing hinges and latches. 
  • Never take your eyes off your kids, not for a second. It only takes 30 seconds for a child to drown. Children are naturally curious and drawn to water, making supervision a much-needed layer of protection.
  • Make sure your family members receive water safety education to become water competent.
  • Wear a USCG-approved life jacket when needed.
  • Learn CPR and proper rescue procedures for drowning incidents.

Sources:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17476348.2019.1589373

https://journals.lww.com/em-news/Fulltext/2017/08000/News___Drowning__in_a_Sea_of_Misinformation.3.aspx

https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/know-the-facts-about-dry-drowning/#:~:text=Michael%20Boniface%2C%20an%20emergency%20medicine,drowning%2C’%E2%80%9D%20says%20Dr.

https://www.aquaticsintl.com/lifeguards/dry-drowning-and-other-misnomers_o

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022437522000883

Being a water safety champion all year long

Summer is a great time to be outside and enjoy the sun and warm weather.  However, it is also the time of year when most drownings occur, so it is important to be proactive when it comes to water safety.  To address the rise in drowning incidents the NDPA launched its Water Safety Champion program which provides resources and education to help prevent drownings.

By becoming a Water Safety Champion you can let everybody know that you are invested in the safety and wellbeing of your entire community.  How?  By promoting the best water safety practices that help prevent unintentional drowning incidents.

Even though drowning is a leading cause of death for children aged 1-4, it is also completely preventable.  This is why it’s essential to prevent drowning incidents year round.

Drowning can happen anywhere there is water – a pool, bathtub, lake, river, or even a bucket of water.  Drowning can also occur at any time or season, making becoming a Water Safety Champion much more critical.  It is a life-long commitment that allows no breaks, no matter what time of year.

So let’s get started!

Make it Official: sign up to become a Water Safety Champion.

Who Can Be A Water Safety Champion?

Everyone can and should become a Water Safety Champion.

Drowning doesn’t discriminate between race, gender or age. It can happen to the best of parents in the best of families any time there is access to water. 

By becoming a Water Safety Champion you will:

  1. Promote water safety best practices in your community and help ensure everyone knows how to stay safe around water.
  2. Teach children never to go near or enter the water without an adult present. 
  3. If you see someone in trouble in the water call for help, and if you are able jump in and save them yourself – every second counts when someone is drowning.

Just go on over to ndpa.org/champion/#championform and sign up. Download your certificate, fill it out and print it to officially become a Water Safety Champion.

Businesses and Organizations can also become Water Safety Champions.

As you know, construction of backyard pools is on the rise – 2020 saw a record 23% increase in ownership. While this statistic is an undeniable win for the industry, it also brings tragedy. Drowning incidents among children have also increased.  

Becoming a Water Safety Champion is a smart business decision, showing current and future clients your commitment to water safety.   Show your potential clients know you are more than just a business to them. You’re a partner providing them peace of mind and helping them enjoy their pool or spa to the fullest. Sign up today!

What Do I Have To Do When I Become A Water Safety Champion?

Learn and implement layers of protection

As we said before, drowning is preventable, but specific strategies are needed to ensure that our kids remain safe when in or near water. These strategies are known as layers of protection.

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.

Drowning happens quickly and quietly, so no single layer of safety is enough. Multiple layers are necessary to help reduce the risk. This means that the following strategies are to be used constantly and simultaneously to help keep children safe:

●       Barriers

Since you can’t always be around to keep an eye on your pool or spa, it’s important to use physical barriers to restrict unauthorized access. This layer of protection comes into play in the pool or spa’s entire surrounding area and the water.

Four-sided fencing with self-closing, self-latching gates, door and window alarms, and safety covers can help make sure kids don’t get to the water unsupervised.

●       Supervision

Whether you’re using your pool or not, it’s always important to know where young children are and never leave them unattended. Close, constant, and capable adult supervision anytime children are in or around water is paramount to avoid drowning incidents.

●       Water Competency

Parents and caregivers should equip every child and adult with the skills to protect themselves in water. With the proper instruction, children can gain the competence, confidence, and respect they need to create a life-long love for the water.

Ensure every family member learns to swim, so they at least achieve the following skills of water competency:

  • Step or jump into the water over their head.
  • Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute.
  • Turn around in a full circle and find an exit.
  • Swim 25 yards to the exit.
  • Exit from the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.

●       Life Jackets

Use life jackets when appropriate. Life jackets protect you when you’re not expecting to be in the water, especially around open water and while boating. All life jackets should be tested and approved by the USCG.

●       Emergency Preparation

Drowning is silent and happens fast. Knowing CPR (w/ rescue breaths) and basic water rescue can make the difference between life and death.

Using all layers of protection together is the only way to reduce the risk of drowning. You never know which layer will save a life.

Know the signs of drowning

It is essential to know what drowning looks like so that we can react swiftly and avert any sad outcomes.

Most people do not know that most drowning victims never have the chance to call for help. Drowning is fast and silent. That is why we must always be attentive to any signs of distress when children or adults are in the water. Swimmers in trouble or distress must be rescued quickly to avoid a tragedy.

Here are the signs that someone might be drowning that you should be on the look-out for:

●       The head instinctively tilts back as they try to keep the airways clear of water, and the body is in a vertical position

●       They usually face the shore in open water such as a lake, river, or beach.

●       There are signs of movement but no signs of progress in the water.

●       The arms are out to the side, pressing downward.

●       There may be a ladder-climbing motion, hands out of the water, or maybe lightly breaking the surface.

●       There is a wide-eyed, panicked expression on their face as they gasp for air.

Once it becomes clear that someone is drowning or in distress, take action and scream for a lifeguard or someone to help.  Whatever you do, do not put yourself in any sort of danger in the process. 

Source: https://www.kenoshaymca.org/2022/06/06/know-look-of-drowning/

Use and Share Water Safety Educational Resources

Water safety education aims to prevent drowning incidents by teaching kids, teens, and even adults how to be safe near and in the water. Water safety education also includes learning what to do should an accident take place. This knowledge can certainly make the difference between fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents.

Ideally, children’s water safety education should begin at home, and as early as possible.  Children younger than school age can begin to learn many water safety basics.  You can start by using some of these fun and free resources.

If you are a teacher, we encourage you to find ways to add water safety education to your curriculum here.

Avoid using misnomers

There are certain terms related to drowning that are commonly used in the media, and hence by the public, that shouldn’t be.

Terms such as ‘dry,’ ‘wet,’ ‘near,’ ‘silent,’ and ‘secondary’ drowning are all misnomers that should not be used when speaking of drowning incidents.

Using inconsistent, inaccurate, or medically inappropriate terms can have the unnecessary effect of instilling fear in the public and causing the wrong diagnosis for real medical issues. According to the World Health Organization, “… Effective prevention of drowning requires programs and policies that address known risk factors”, for which “… a simple but comprehensive definition is needed.”

So, in order to indeed face the problem of drowning successfully, we must refrain from using terms that are misleading and compel others to do the same, starting with the media. There is a common practice of promoting specific flotation devices as aids and protection for children when they are in the water. This is far from the case and should be addressed so that those types of messages are no longer shared or are more accurately worded, at least. It is to this end that the NDPA has created the End The Misinformation Letter.

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By learning and spreading the word about water safety and drowning prevention, you can help save lives. Water safety is everyone’s responsibility. Take the pledge to be a Water Safety Champion today and help spread the word about water safety and drowning prevention. United, we can prevent the tragedy of drowning!

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