Tag Archive for: layers of protection

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!

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.

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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The threat of drowning continues even after summer ends. With the cooler weather and the holiday season right around the corner, it’s easy to forget that water safety is still important. But drownings don’t take a break just because the temperature dips. The risk of drowning doesn’t go away when kids return to school. In fact, drownings occur just as frequently in the fall and winter months during family gatherings and vacation trips as they do in the summer. 

As the cooler months come around, ensure your child’s swimming skills are up to par. Just because summer is coming to an end doesn’t mean it’s time to forget about swim lessons. Year-round swim lessons are the key for your child to reinforce the skills they have learned. Year-round swim lessons allow kids to keep their water skills fresh and top of mind, allowing them to hone all their water competency knowledge throughout the year. 

Swim Lessons Are an Essential Layer Of Protection Against Drowning

Swim lessons are an essential layer of protection needed to help prevent unintentional drowning incidents. 

In 2009, Dr. Ruth Brenner and her colleagues at the National Institute of Child Health and Development published a study stating that swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children ages 1 to 4 by 88%. This statement is significant because this age group is at the highest risk of drowning in a swimming pool. The study found that swimming lessons can help children learn how to swim and be more comfortable in the water, reducing the risk of drowning.

This study has been cited multiple times in several articles and posts regarding drowning prevention and water safety. Please note that this research had a small sample size and the 95% confidence intervals regarding the protective effects were 3%-99%. It also stated that “swimming skills alone are insufficient to protect a child from drowning.”

Learning to swim is but one of the several layers of protection needed to reduce children’s drowning risk. Parents must know they cannot rely on just one layer of protection to keep kids safe. Nothing, not even swim lessons, can drown-proof a child. All layers must be implemented simultaneously to effectively reduce the risk of drowning incidents from taking place.

Kids are safer in water when they have multiple layers of protection in place. The layers include swimming lessons and aids such as life jackets, bubble covers, and pool fences. Kids need more than one layer of protection to be safe in pools and spas – including swimming lessons taught by a professional swim instructor.

Swimming Lessons & Water Competency

A national survey conducted for the Red Cross in 2020 revealed that people believe themselves to be better swimmers than they really are. The survey also found that of the 85 percent of Americans who said they could swim, only 56 percent could perform all five basic skills (also known as water competency) that might help keep them safe in the water.

According to the American Red Cross, there are three main components to water competency: water smarts, swimming skills, and helping others.

Water smarts involve knowing well what your limitations are in the water and what to do (or not do) to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation when in the water, like wearing a US coast guard approved life vest, understanding how weather conditions can impact water safety and how to call for help.

The following are the basic swimming skills needed to be safe in the water:

  • Step or jump into the water over your 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.

Helping others means you know what to do should an emergency occur, like knowing how to assist a drowning victim and learning CPR with rescue breaths.

Any swim program you choose for your child should cover the three components of water competency. They will give your child the tools they need if they accidentally fall into the water unsupervised.

When to Start Swim Lessons

Swim lessons aren’t just about teaching children how to be safe around water — they’re also teaching parents how to do the same.

In 2019, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its water safety guidelines to recommend children start swimming lessons around age 1 to help reduce the risks of drowning. The more comfortable a child is in water, the fewer their chances of drowning; the earlier they’re comfortable, the better.

Parents must remember that learning to swim is but one of the layers of protection that need to be implemented to prevent drowning. Even though learning to swim allows children to be aware of drowning hazards, it does not make them immune to the perils of drowning. Indeed, nothing can drown-proof a child.

Finding the right swim programs for kids isn’t just about your child’s age or experience levels; it’s also about you being comfortable with the facility, instructors, and technique. Things that make a swim lesson program a good fit for you and your child will also vary by age. When choosing the program that best fits your child and your family, be sure to factor in your decision the emotional maturity of your child, their physical and developmental abilities and limitations, and their current comfort level when in the water.

Drowning is preventable when children learn proper water safety skills.

Drowning is a preventable tragedy that occurs far too often, especially in young children. But when kids learn the appropriate water safety skills, they can stay safe around pools, lakes, oceans, and anywhere there is water.

Swim lessons are an excellent way for children to learn about water safety. For starters, they’ll learn how to stay afloat and what they must do if they find themselves in a dangerous situation like accidentally falling into the water.

And while no one can completely prevent accidents, knowing the proper safety techniques can mean the difference between life and death. So make sure your child is enrolled in swim lessons all year long, regardless of the season – it could save their life.

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.

Advocate for water safety in your community

Harness all your water safety knowledge and share it with other members of your community. Create community task forces and help make your community safer!

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!

Become a Water Safety Champion today!

NDPA Launches New Brand, Website & Campaign

Despite all of our collective tireless efforts, drowning is still the single leading cause of death for children 1-4. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as of 2018 drowning has surpassed birth defects as the most common cause of death in this age group. However, our theme for our 2020 conference still applies…Drowning won’t stop, so neither will we!

To rise and meet this challenge, the NDPA will launch a refreshed brand, new website, and new campaign! We will officially unveil our new brand and website on Monday, November 15! Then, we will launch our new campaign focused on backyard pool and spa safety on Tuesday, November 16 at the International Pool, Spa, Patio and Deck Expo in Dallas, TX. Below are details about the new programs.

National Drowning Prevention Alliance

Branding Refresh

The NDPA’s mission is “United, we can prevent the tragedy of drowning”, and our vision is to become the top destination for drowning prevention education in the United States. As we mature and enter into our next phase of growth, our leadership has decided to ensure that NDPA’s brand and image reflect the seriousness and importance of the issues we are working to solve. Our refreshed look is centered on a blue pallet of colors. The color blue represents responsibility, sincerity, professionalism, stability, and intelligence; all of which are core values of the NDPA. In the coming weeks we will be making new member, partner, supporter, and sponsor logos available via our online resource center and through email NDPA communications.

NDPA - National Drowning Prevention Alliance - MEMBER
NDPA - National Drowning Prevention Alliance - PARTNER

New Website

To better meet the various audiences we serve, the NDPA will launch a new website. Our new website is designed to give our users the information and resources that they need the most. Parents and professionals will have dedicated areas with critical tools, knowledge, and resources to best meet their needs. The NDPA members and partners will continue to have quick and easy access to the NDPA Resource Center and programs in a new dedicated area of the new website. Additional resources and expanded tools will also be launching in the coming months.


Water Safety Champion

Water Safety Champions

The pool and spa industry has reported growth of 20%+ since the start of the 2020 and layers of protection are critical to backyard safety. In response, the NDPA will be launching a new campaign focused on championing safety in backyard pool and spa environments. We are launching first phase of this exciting campaign will launch at the International Pool, Spa, Patio, and Deck Expo in Dallas, TX. Our focus will be focused on supporting and working with pool and spa industry professionals to enhance consumer water safety education in a positive and proactive way. Pool and spa professionals will have the first opportunity to sign up to become Water Safety Champions and join us on the mission to save lives!


Know The Layers Of Protection

The NDPA is dedicated to reducing drowning and enhancing water safety in the US. As an alliance of parents, professionals, advocates, researchers, and leaders, the organization is focused on impacting the staggering statistics of this preventable injury. Remember, drowning IS preventable!

Best regards,

Team NDPA

Facts About The Worlds Largest Swimming Lesson 2021
  • Millions of children missed the opportunity to participate in formal swimming lessons last season due to the pandemic, creating an urgent need for water safety training and swim lessons this summer. TEAM WLSL™ is getting back on deck to send the message Swimming Lessons Save Lives™ to help prevent childhood drowning and teach families how to Be Water Aware.  
  • The 2021 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson will offer hundreds of aquatic centers, swim schools and waterparks the chance to focus in on the urgency of getting kids back in the water for formal swim lessons to help make up for the lessons and water safety training they missed in 2020.
  • What is exciting about the WLSL event is that so many organizations and individual aquatic facilities are coming together to make it happen. The WLSL helps capture all the passion we have for this critical issue as individuals and focuses all that energy on one message for one day.
  • Drowning is a public health crisis. In the U.S., it’s the leading cause of accidental death for kids ages 1-4 and the second leading cause for kids 14 and under. Yet, a large percentage of adults don’t recognize this risk or provide the right layers of protection to prevent drowning.
  • Internationally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. 
  • According to a 2020 research study conducted by the American Red Cross, more than half (54%) of U.S. kids ages 4-17 are not able to perform the basic water safety skills that can save their life.
  • More drowning and near drowning incidents take place in the U.S during the month of June than any other month of the year.
  • According to a 2018 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), from 2015 through 2017, an estimated average of 6,400 children younger than 15 years old were reportedly treated in hospital emergency rooms for nonfatal drowning injuries in pools or spas.
  • Nearly 80% of drowning victims are male.  Also, African-American children ages 5 to 19 drown at rates 5.5 times higher than Caucasian children. This disparity is greatest among those 11-12 years where African Americans drown in swimming pools at rates 10 times those of Caucasians.
  • Drowning is predictable, incredibly fast and quiet: Most children who drown are out of sight for less than 5 minutes. Drowning can occur in as little as two minutes and victims do not signal for help. In addition, 70% of drownings happen during non-swim times.
  • Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons by kids ages 1-4 can significantly reduce the risk of drowning, yet many children still do not participate in formal water safety training or swimming lessons.
  • The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson was created in 2010 as a platform to support public education about safer water practices and to build awareness about the critical importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning. 
  • Since its inception, more than 320,000 children and adults have participated in life-saving WLSL lessons, generating more than two BILLION media impressions about the vital importance of learning to swim. 
  • TEAM WLSL™ has set five multi-venue and three single venue Guinness® World Records since the program began in 2010.

TEAM WLSL™ is on a mission to make sure every parent understands the critical importance of teaching kids to swim and how to Be Water Aware to prevent drowning.

Show your support by sharing this important message.

Education and knowledge is the key for everything and definitely something we should focus on in 2021. 

According to the CDC, an average of 10 fatal drowning incidents happen in the USA every day and 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.  The WHO has reported that drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. 

This makes drowning a very serious issue that should be addressed throughout the year in order to avoid and prevent fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents. The beginning of a new year is the best time to plan exactly how we can do this in the form of water safety resolutions.

Here are ten to get you started:

1.- Implement layers of protection at home

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.

Learn more about how to implement them here.

2.- Practice water safety at home

  • Never leave your child alone in the bathtub—even for a moment. Many bathtub drownings happen (even in a few inches of water) when a parent leaves a small child alone or with another young child. Also, bath seats are just bathing aids. Bath seats can tip over and your child can slip out of them, so they won’t prevent drowning.
  • Empty water from containers, such as large pails and 5-gallon buckets, immediately after use.
  • Keep bathroom doors closed. Install door knob covers or a hook-and-eye latch or other lock that is out of the reach of your small child.
  • Keep toilets closed. Always close the toilet lid, and consider using a toilet lid latch.

Find more ways to be water safe at home in our blog post Home Water Safety Tips.

3.- Teach your children about water safety

Families have always played a vital role in teaching kids how important it is to learn to swim and behave safely in and around the water. If your child isn’t able to take formal swim lessons right now, you can still help them learn to be safer around backyard pools, ponds or other natural bodies of water.

These are some great resources to help you get started.

4.- Actively support the NDPA to promote water safety and drowning prevention all year long.

The mission of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance is to reduce the incidence of drowning and aquatic injuries in the US and abroad. United, we can reach our goal of 0 drownings.

Whether you join or support the alliance in other ways, you can empower your communities to take more action, touch more lives, and make an even greater difference. Check out 5 Ways You Can Support The NDPA for more ideas.

5.- Promote water safety and ways to prevent drowning in your community.

Find information, actions and resources to get your community involved in water safety advocacy efforts whether they be in person or online at the NDPA Resource Center.

6.- Enroll your children in swimming lessons.

Swim skills add a layer of protection to prevent drowning incidents. Formal swimming lessons reduce the risk of drowning among children 1-4 years by 88%. This is the only sport that can actually save lives and can also reduce the risk of drowning among older individuals.

Learn more about Swimming Lessons As A Layer Of Protection To Prevent Drownings.

7.- Learn CPR with rescue breaths. Compression-only CPR does not treat drowning.

Anyone who lives in a home with a pool should learn CPR and rescue breathing. CPR training and certification should be refreshed every one to two years, depending upon the certification agency, or more frequently if there have been recent changes in recommendations.

Along with learning CPR, there are other layers of protection that you should learn which are intended to minimize injury should a child gain access to the water and are meant to be used immediately in the event of such an emergency.

8.- Invest in a life vest for each member of the family.

A properly fit life jacket is a very effective life-saving strategy in the quest to reduce the number of fatal drowning incidents in the country. Learn more about it here.

9.- Register for the 2021 National Water Safety Conference

The conference is a great fit for anyone involved in child safety advocacy, injury prevention, safety education, water safety, drowning prevention, first response, public health, public policy, aquatics, and many more areas!

This year the #NWSC2021 will be offered from March 29 to April 1, 2021 in a virtual format. It will include a range of different activities including hosted virtual networking sessions, live general sessions and keynote addresses, interactive sessions, pre-recorded breakout educational sessions, and so much more. The best part of a virtual conference – no travel, hotel, and expenditure costs. Get ALL the education from the comfort of home!

Register now!

10.- Join the NDPA Water Safety Warriors Group!

The NDPA has the goal of bringing everyone who has a vested interest in drowning prevention and water safety together. This way, we can provide education and resources to prevent drowning and aquatic injury by making water safer to enjoy.

By providing this space to connect to each other, access to the most current information, and share resources to help  be more effective in our efforts, we are sure can reach our goal to end accidental drownings!

Just click to join!