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Floaties – Puddle jumpers, water wings, ring floaties, neck rings. We believe they all have one thing in common:

They each contribute to child drownings.

We believe this is how:

All of them automatically put children in a vertical position in the water and that is the drowning position. It’s the exact opposite position to the life-saving, horizontal position that learning to float on their backs and then to swim teaches them. Puddle Jumpers teach children’s muscles to remember that drowning position, so that when they get into water, their bodies will automatically get into that position, whether they have the device on or not. This makes drowning faster!
They all teach children to bicycle their arms and legs, in order to propel through the water. This is commonly known as treading water, but it expends huge amounts of energy and kids cannot keep it up for long enough to get rescued or save themselves. They tire out in less than a minute and will then drown.
All of these devices prevent kids from learning to reach their arms out in front of them for any swimming stroke and from putting their heads in the water to help them get into a horizontal (swimming and breathing position) in the water.
Puddle Jumpers contribute to water phobia because they don’t allow much water on the face and therefore don’t allow children to become used to the water being on their faces. If the water does hit their face in an emergency situation, the child is more likely to panic and freeze and then not be able to help themselves.
All of these devices create a false sense of safety for the child when used in the pool, during swim or play times. The child thinks they can swim as they have built confidence in the water (because they have been wearing the device every single time they are in the water). They then don’t know how their own bodies react in the water without a flotation device on and they don’t make the connection that the device is what keeps them floating and not themselves. They think that they are floating on their own. So, when the opportunity arises for them to get into water (even when they aren’t supposed to be in it), they are much more likely to do so without the device and without a parent, thinking they can swim on their own, when they really can’t.

This false sense of safety does not commonly happen when flotation devices are only used in open water, most likely because when they aren’t using a device at the pool (which is most children’s learning to swim place), the child learns about what their own bodies can and can’t do in the water and they realize they can’t float or swim on their own yet.
All of these devices create a false sense of safety for adults. Adults tend to not be as vigilant around the water when they put their kids in these devices. So, as an example, during a break when a parent might be attending to another child, their little one may have their device off temporarily and because the parent has trained themselves not to have to be as vigilant, they have a lapse in supervision for a few seconds. In that time, the little one can easily end up in the pool without the device that holds them up in the water and can drown! It only takes 30 seconds! A young child CAN and they often DO sneak off when you are even briefly distracted!!!
None of these devices are Coast Guard approved except the Puddle Jumper.
Puddle Jumpers are Coast Guard approved but at the lowest level possible-below life buoys, which are only meant to throw to someone and quickly pull them out of the water. Puddle Jumpers are not reliable as a safety measure in any water that is not completely calm. They are marketed as a “swim aid”, but NO device is a swim aid.

Flotation devices of any kind should never be used as a swim aid because of the reasons above.

Instead, children should learn to float on their backs and then learn survival swim techniques, as well as always having one-on-one touch supervision (a parent or adult never being outside of an arm’s reach of a non-swimmer) in and around the water.

It has become very popular for parents to use flotation devices in places they were never meant to be used (like the pool), thinking that’s what keeps the kids safe. But it doesn’t! During the time they are in the water, the devices keep them floating, but we believe they also teach them all the points above.

Most child drownings happen when it’s not swim time-meaning they happen when kids sneak back to the pool without you, after swim time is over, and that means they won’t have the device on at the time they drown. If they learn what their bodies can and can’t do in the water by not using the devices, they are much less likely to sneak back to the water, because they will know by their experience that they can’t swim and thus, the drowning won’t happen.

Life Vests are the only safe floatation device and we believe that even they should NOT be used at a pool. They should only be used in open water like oceans, lakes and rivers (where it is very important that they are used). Life Vests were made for open water. They were never meant to be used in pools.

Pools are where kids learn what their own bodies can do in the water. They need to do that without a flotation device on, to develop respect for the water. They need to have lessons that teach them to float on their backs so that they can breathe and wait for help, and then need to learn to swim so that they can rescue themselves. They need you to always stay within an arm’s reach of them while in or around water, until they learn to swim on their own. They need you to never put them back into the device while learning to swim or after they have learned, because the devices will unteach them all of the skills they have learned in lessons.

That’s why we say NO to floaties! Join us in our mission to make sure all children are taught to float, all parents know the dangers of floatation devices during swim times, all Puddle Jumpers and floaties stop being used at all and Coast Guard approved life vests are used in open water, but not in pools with little ones.

Bring us your Puddle Jumpers and other floaties and let us help you choose life saving survival swim lessons instead!

For more information on how YOU can help with this campaign, please contact Annette Courtney at annette@judahbrownproject.org or Christi Brown at christibrownsky@yahoo.com.

Please visit nofloaties.org to sign our Puddle Jumper Pledge! You taking this pledge will help spread the word to other moms and dads that puddle jumpers and floaties are not safe for our young children in the water!

The message that these devices are ok to use with our kids was spread from parent to parent. Please help us reverse this misguided information, by spreading the truth about these devices from parent to parent by talking about it with as many parents as you can!!

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!

The following is a petition available via Change.org relating to the need to teach every child how to swim in the state of Florida:

Teaching kids, teens and even adults how to be safe near and in the water as well as what to do if anything ever goes wrong is paramount to prevent unintentional drowning incidents, both fatal and non-fatal.

The following programs have been designed to offer proper guidance in the matter and can be added to any school or homeschool curriculum.

Stop Drowning Now

The Safer 3 in the classroom

Stop Drowning Now’s Water Safety Curriculum teaches kids how to recognize drowning risks and to protect themselves and others. The Curriculum is specifically designed for young kids’ learning needs. Through an experiential approach, kids participate in the discovery and identification process, and learn preventative measures as well as emergency responses.

Water Safety With Colin & Friends

Water Safety With Colin & Friends is a comprehensive water safety education tool. The classroom-based curriculum focuses on 5 key rules that can help children make safer choices around all types of water, such as waiting for an adult before going in or near water and wearing a life jacket. The full kit includes activities like songs, water safety games, and even a science experiment. The program is evidence-based, continues to be evaluated for efficacy, and has been proven with statistical significance to increase children’s water safety knowledge!

Kidshealth In The Classroom

KidsHealth in the Classroom by Nemours offers educators free health-related lesson plans for PreK through 12th grade. Each Teacher’s Guide includes discussion questions, classroom activities and extensions, printable handouts, and quizzes and answer keys all aligned to National Health Education Standards.

For water safety educational resources search under Personal Health.

Josh The Otter Water Safety & Awareness Project

Drowning is preventable. Teach this life-saving message.


Demonstrate the importance of water safety with Josh the Baby Otter. This guide will help you educate young children about drowning prevention through a fun and interactive classroom activity.

Water Smart Education Toolkit

Curriculum materials to teach Water Safety have been developed by Royal Life Saving Australia together with education resource specialists, teachers and water safety instructors.

The teaching resources in the Water Smart education toolkit outline appropriate learning outcomes and have taken into consideration the new Australian National Curriculum for all years from Foundation to Year 10. The key components of the resource toolkit include Units of Work, Teachers Notes, Activity Sheets, Safety Tips and Supplementary Resources.

Curriculum Swimming and Water Safety Resource Pack

Swim England and the Swim Group have created a resource pack for all those involved in the delivery of curriculum swimming and water safety.

The resource pack has been split into four to provide dedicated information for each  group. Each section provides practical guidance on how to plan, deliver and report on curriculum swimming and water safety.

Water Safety Resources 

Teachers Pay Teachers is a great database for educators to find the resources, knowledge, and inspiration they need to teach at their best. They offer more than 3 million free and paid resources, created by educators who understand what works in the classroom and have a great selection of water safety materials that can be used in the classroom for kids from PreK to 12th grade.

Water safety resources for teachers

Water Safety for Kids

The American Red Cross offers resources to help your child learn about water safety while having fun in and around water.

The NDPA Webinar Series is an educational initiative that aims to offer expert insight on  a plurality of topics pertaining to water safety and drowning prevention throughout the year. 

Here’s a list of our first 10 webinar sessions that you can watch on our site now!

Our first webinar discussed the American Academy of Pediatrics updated statement on the prevention of drowning, with Dr. Julie Gilchrist and Nicole Hughes, founder of Levi’s Legacy.




Dr. Andrea Taliaferro along with Ailene Tisser, MA PT and Cindy Freedman, MOTR, CTRS, founders of Swim Angelfish, lead the discussion on water safety and drowning prevention for individuals with disabilities and autism.

Waves, temperature, currents, weather… they can all be obstacles to the practice of open water swimming. Guest speakers Mario Vittone and US Coast Guard Licensed Master Michael Carr.




This webinar covers what has worked well and what hasn’t for community water safety initiatives, how to connect with your community, how to gain support from your community, how to identify resources in your community, and other related topics.

This discussion covers federal water safety legislation with a focus on VGB and the proposed legislation on water safety education in schools in New Jersey with our expert panel which includes Alan Korn, J.D., Sean Kean, J.D., and Joe Oehme.




Led by Mick Nelson, the Facilities Development Senior Director at USA Swimming, this webinar is focused on drowning data and a discussion on the role that commercial aquatic facilities play in drowning prevention.

National Safe Boating Council‘s Executive Director, Peg Phillips, and Communication Director, Yvonne Pentz join us as we discuss life jacket use in the U.S., life jacket laws, and the “Wear It!” campaign.




How can more schools adopt water safety education programs? We answer this and other questions with the expertise of Stop Drowning Now and Colin’s Hope, both organizations that have existing and implemented drowning prevention curriculums in schools.

Physicians prescribing swim lessons to parents and children is a topic of great interest for most families in the U.S. Lana Whitehead, President of Water Smart Babies and Dr. Todd Vedder, MD with Atrium Health discuss it at length.




Our two guest experts in marketing and communication, Laura Metro, Owner of The Marketing Spirit and NDPA Board Member and Kent Nelson, Digital Marketing Specialist at Counsilman Hunsaker, discuss the ins and outs of navigating social media around a complex issue.

Don’t miss any of our upcoming webinars. Dates and topics will be announced on our social media profiles.