Tag Archive for: layers of protection

Drowning incidents, whether fatal or nonfatal, continue to be a serious concern in the United States. Drowning affects individuals of all ages and backgrounds all across the country. It is the single leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In an effort to make dramatic changes to these numbers, key stakeholders have come together over the last four years to create and officially launch the U.S. National Water Safety Action Plan (USNWSAP).

This collaborative effort sets out a plan for 2023-2032, including how the field can work together and make a difference in the drowning numbers. This is an update from our previous blog on the USNWSAP. 

Uniting for a Common Goal

The launch of the USNWSAP marks a pivotal moment in our nation’s commitment to addressing the drowning rates. According to the CDC, an average of 11 fatal drownings happen every day. The launch of this plan brings everyone together to tackle this issue head-on.

Within the USNWSAP you will find 99 recommendations for action, a list of national implications that will support the uptake of recommendations at the community, county, and state levels, and guidance documents to start your work addressing drowning in your local area. A research agenda, an implementation database, and additional guidance tools and resources will be released later this year.

The Wonder of Collaboration For the U.S. National Water Safety Action Plan

The USNWSAP includes guidance on a 12-step Reflection to Action process to support the development of local plans at the community, county, and state levels. The process is divided into two phases, and the first phase involves undertaking a reflection exercise to support action planning.

The first step is bringing a group of people together who are empowered and excited to think through the process and get started on reflection. This includes working together to identify who should be engaged in the reflection and planning process. Ensuring you have the right people at the table is important to bring different perspectives and ideas together. 

Each community, county, and state is different and has unique features, such as diverse waterscapes and hazards. Taking time to look thoroughly at what your needs are, followed by exploring the available drowning data that can identify groups at risk and relevant trends, can again help keep the group focused on how to make the proper changes.

The USNWSAP continues on to break down 6 overall action recommendation areas. You can look specifically at each action recommendation as it relates to your community needs.

What can YOU do now?

The USNWSAP includes a variety of activities that you can do and central to this is working together to create change. As with the group working together to create and implement the action plan, you can’t do this alone. There are many different ways that you can help. You can get involved within your community to start the reflection-to-action process, help implement recommendations, and be a leader and champion for water safety.

Many different perspectives, experiences, and expertise are needed to make the changes as successful as they can be. Being a part of the decision-making and implementation of these changes will help your community be a safer place for all residents and visitors.

The overall theme throughout the plan is collaboration. Every person taking a small action leads to a bigger impact and can help lower the drowning rates. Use this plan to help you and your community stay safer in and around the water. 

Bathing a little one isn’t just about cleanliness; it’s a sweet routine filled with bubbles, toys, and cherished memories. However, even in the splashing and giggling lies a responsibility to ensure the safety of our little ones. ​​Every caregiver should prioritize the child’s safety during bath time, and with these bath safety tips, you can ensure that this daily routine remains both fun and secure.

1. Never Leave Them Unattended

Unlike what many might envision, drowning is often silent. Children can slip under the water without making a sound, especially if they are young and unfamiliar with the dangers of water. Within moments, they can be submerged.

Stay Present:
Always stay within arm’s reach of your child while they’re in the bath. Physical
proximity allows you to react swiftly should they slip or face any difficulty.

A ringing phone, a knock at the door, or a momentarily forgotten item can pull a parent or caregiver away for “just a second.” But a lot can happen in that brief time. The urgency of the moment may trick our minds into believing we’ll be quick, but any distraction that pulls attention away from a bathing child is a risk not worth taking.

Prepare Ahead:
Before starting the bath, gather all the necessary items—soap, shampoo, towels, toys—and place them within easy reach.

Many believe that a small amount of water isn’t enough to pose a risk. This misconception can lead to tragic accidents. Even an inch of water is sufficient for a child to drown, particularly if they are very young or unable to right themselves.

Avoid Over-reliance on Bath Seats or Rings:
While they can provide support, they’re not substitutes for supervision. Children can still tip over or get trapped by these devices. Stay close and minimize distractions!

2. Check Water Temperature

One of the subtle but significant challenges faced by parents and caregivers during bath time is ensuring the right water temperature. Babies and toddlers don’t just enjoy their baths; it’s a sensory experience that aids in their relaxation and sleep. But their tender skin can react adversely to water temperatures that might seem comfortable to an adult. With this in mind, keeping the water temperature at an adequate setting will help keep bath time fun and enjoyable for both child and caregiver.

The Sensitivity of Young Skin:
The epidermis (outer layer of the skin) of babies and toddlers is thinner than in adults. This means they can’t bear the same temperature ranges and are more prone to burns.

Using the Right Testing Method:
Dipping a toe might not give an accurate temperature reading. Instead, the inside of your wrist or elbow, which are more sensitive than other body parts, can offer a more reliable gauge. This method mimics the sensitivity of a child’s skin, giving caregivers a better understanding of how the child might feel.

Precision with Thermometers:
While the elbow test is a good starting point, for those who want to be doubly sure, investing in a water thermometer can be wise. It provides a precise reading, ensuring that the water is neither too hot nor too cold. A range of 37°C to 38°C (98.6°F to 100.4°F) is often recommended for the little ones.

Mix Before You Dip:
Always mix the water well to even out the temperature. Hot water tends to rise, with cold water at the bottom, so proper mixing will prevent areas of extreme temperatures that might harm your child.

Remember, their comfort and safety are in our hands, and with a bit of attention to detail and these bath safety tips, bath time can be a joy for both child and caregiver.

3. Use Non-slip Mats or Stickers

The bathtub’s smooth surface, combined with soapy water, can quickly become a slipping hazard. With slippery conditions, the danger of accidental falls becomes all too real. But, with some foresight, the right tools, and these bath safety tips, these dangers can be minimized. Here’s how you can enhance safety during bath time:

Invest in a Non-Slip Mat:
Placing a non-slip mat inside the tub is one of the most effective ways to increase traction. These mats come in various sizes and designs, often with suction cups on the bottom that secure them firmly to the tub’s surface. They provide a textured surface, reducing the likelihood of slipping, even in soapy conditions.

Adhesive Stickers Can Help Too:
If you’re looking for a less conspicuous option than a mat, consider non-slip stickers. These are often designed with fun shapes, like stars or animals, which can be attractive to children. They stick directly to the tub’s surface and offer added grip without covering the entire tub.

Think Outside the Tub:
While it’s essential to prevent slips inside the tub, don’t forget about the potential hazards just outside it. Wet feet on slick bathroom tiles can be just as dangerous. A non-slip mat placed directly outside the bathtub can absorb excess water and offer secure footing for both the child and the caregiver during the entry and exit processes.

Maintenance Matters:
Over time, non-slip mats and stickers can accumulate soap scum and mold, reducing their effectiveness. It’s crucial to clean them regularly and replace them if they begin to lose their grip or show signs of wear.

With the simple addition of non-slip mats or stickers and a regular maintenance routine, caregivers can significantly reduce the risks associated with slippery bathtubs, ensuring that each bath is as safe as it is fun.

bath safety tips

4. Store Bath Products Safely

The bathroom can be a magical place for children, from the gentle water to the bubbles that form on the surface and the array of interesting bottles lined up on the edges. However, this excitement can swiftly turn into a hazard if bath products fall into the wrong (tiny) hands.

The Temptation of Colors and Shapes:
Bath products, with their vibrant colors, unique shapes, and sometimes even fun packaging, are immensely attractive to children. These bottles can easily be mistaken for toys or, worse, something edible.

Safety First Approach:
Storing these items on higher shelves or in closed cabinets ensures that they’re out of reach of children. If your bathroom doesn’t have higher storage, consider investing in wall-mounted units or over-the-door organizers.

Stay Prepared:
Despite all precautions, accidents can happen. Keep emergency numbers handy, be aware of the nearest medical facilities, and know the basic first-aid steps for ingestion or eye contact with bath products.

By implementing these bath safety tips, you can ensure that the time spent in the tub is filled with joy and free from risks. Remember, vigilance and preparation are the pillars of keeping your little ones safe during bath time.

Happy splashing!

As the warm days of summer come to an end, it’s essential to properly winterize your pool for the season. Knowing how to winterize your pool ensures that it remains in optimal condition and ready to be reopened for the next swimming season! When properly done, winterizing your pool can help keep your pool safety ready for winter. Knowing how to winterize your pool will look different depending on what type of pool you have, but here are some general guidelines and tips!

Clean and Balance Your Water Chemistry before Winterizing Your Pool

Maintaining proper water balance is a crucial step in helping to prevent corrosion, scale buildup, and the growth of algae during the winter months. To get ready for this, be sure to clean up and remove any debris in your pool. This will make it easier to balance your water chemistry.

Begin by testing your pool water for the pH, Chlorine, Alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels. The ideal pH level is between 7.4 and 7.6. This helps prevent corrosion and having a balanced Alkalinity helps to prevent fluctuations in your pH.

Your Alkalinity should range between 200-250, and be sure you have your calcium hardness levels between 150 to 250 ppm. This will also help protect your pool surfaces from deterioration. You can find information on some of Lesley’s Pool Supplies for winterizing an inground pool.

Shock and Chlorinate

Part of winterizing your pool involves shocking it with chlorine. This helps to eliminate contaminants and prevent algae growth. You can use the same shock you use during the regular pool season and double that amount for winterizing your pool. After this, you can use an algaecide. Follow the instructions listed on the product you are using.

This will also help with preventing algae from growing throughout the winter. Be sure to keep these chemicals in a secure location where others and children do not have access.

Lower the Water Level

Dropping the water level in your pool is important for winterizing your pool. Thinking ahead for the cold weather, when water freezes, it expands. This may happen to your pool and it could cause some damage to your pool and plumbing system. 

When water freezes, it expands. Take into account what type of plumbing system you have. You may need to clear all of your lines to prevent damage. If you have a flooded system that sits below the ground level of your pool, you most likely have this system.

Check with your local area’s pool maintenance and chemical company to see what all you need to do to prepare your pool for winter.

Clean and Store Equipment for Winter

Cleaning and storing your pool equipment properly before winterizing is essential for prolonging the life of your equipment. This also helps you with a smooth transition for the summer season. Cleaning your equipment includes backwashing your pool and cleaning the pool filter or filters to remove any debris and contaminants. 

Remove and clean all pool accessories such as ladders, baskets, and skimmer lids. Thoroughly clean and dry these items before storing them in a dry, cool place for the winter. Keep these items in a place where others including children cannot access them.

Pay special attention to your pumps, heaters, or other equipment that might be vulnerable to freezing temperatures. You can check your manuals for your pump systems and installation paperwork for the proper process for your pool and equipment. 

Install a Winter Pool Cover

A high-quality pool cover serves as the final barrier to protect your pool during the winter months. There are various types of covers available such as mesh, solid vinyl covers, and automatic covers. When choosing the best cover for your pool, keep safety in mind.

A pool cover adds a layer of protection to keep your pool safer. Keep a cover patch kit on hand in case you need it. Whichever type of cover you choose, be sure it fits properly for your pool. Anchor it properly to prevent wind from getting underneath it. 

You may want to use an air pillow or pool pillow that can help support the pool cover’s center. This pillow helps prevent water from accumulating on the cover and causing damage. Gently inflate this pillow and secure it in the center of the pool before covering your pool with the winter cover. 

Continue Regular Maintenance Checks

Even during the winter months, it is important to conduct periodic maintenance checks on your pool. Remove any debris that has accumulated on the cover and check the pool’s water level to ensure it remains in a safe range.

Checking on your pool fence is important too. A fence around your pool adds another layer of protection to help keep your pool safer for everyone. Find more information on the 5 layers of protection at https://ndpa.org/layers/. Completing a visual inspection over all of your equipment helps to make sure you will be ready for a smooth reopening next time! 

Winterizing your pool is a comprehensive process that involves multiple steps. Taking the time to properly winterize your pool with balancing your water chemistry, shock treatment, equipment maintenance, proper cover installation, and continued maintenance checks helps keep your pool in excellent condition.

Keeping your pool and your family safe happens year-round. Following these steps can help you confidently winterize your pool and help to protect your investment in your pool. 

For decades public swimming pools have played a vital role in America’s cities and towns, especially during the summer months. Countless families have fond memories of embarking on aquatic adventures to their local swimming pool. 

What makes public pool facilities special are the people and programs that work together to provide meaningful experiences for families and allow them to push themselves to greater heights. The impact can be seen through the countless communities, rural and urban, that have welcomed families, camps, and water safety initiatives.

Public Swimming Pools Foster a Sense of Community

Public swimming pools serve as more than just a place to cool off on hot summer days. They’re catalysts for fostering a sense of community. These pools provide opportunities to meet new people and reconnect with friends from school or the neighborhood, turning the local pool into a vibrant social hub. 

Most often, public swimming pools are the site of various community events, like barbecues and block parties, bringing people together and encouraging socialization for adults, teens, and kids. Communities are able to come together, creating lasting connections and promoting a sense of belonging for everyone involved.

Promote Fitness for Whole Family

Beyond building a sense of community, public swimming pools offer a fantastic opportunity for families to prioritize their fitness goals. Whether it’s for physical well-being or mental health, swimming provides a refreshing physical outlet suitable for all ages.

Swimming is a low-impact exercise that benefits cardiovascular health, muscular strength, and endurance. Public swimming pools allow people to engage in physical activity while still enjoying the environment. Swimming also offers numerous health benefits beyond physical fitness. It can help reduce stress, improve mental health, and promote relaxation. 

Moreover, public swimming pools offer the added benefit of fostering family bonding and creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Increase Public Safety

Public pools play a vital role in enhancing public safety through various initiatives. By offering swimming lessons and general water safety courses, they empower individuals with the essential lifesaving skills to navigate water environments confidently. 

Additionally, lifeguard training programs ensure there are well-trained professionals on-site to prevent accidents and respond promptly in emergencies. With a focus on education and preparedness, public swimming pools serve as a crucial community resource that promotes the safety of the general public.

Offer Career and Volunteer Opportunities

Public pools provide abundant career and volunteer opportunities, fostering the growth of various professions. From ensuring safety as lifeguards to maintaining pool hygiene, individuals can thrive in roles such as pool maintenance technicians, swim instructors, swim coaches, and aquatic managers/directors. 

Additionally, public pools serve as platforms for community outreach programs, creating avenues for personal and professional development. Young teens often find themselves occupied over the long summers with social programs or lifeguarding. This keeps them busy, and establishes a sense of personal responsibility to the community at large. It goes a long way in understanding the types of careers they want to pursue.

Public Swimming Pools Promote Water Accessibility

Public pools are instrumental in promoting water accessibility for both urban and rural areas where access to water and water safety education is limited. They provide a supervised environment for people of all backgrounds to enjoy swimming and aquatic activities, and give underserved communities the opportunity to change their relationship with water. 

Whether in bustling urban centers or remote rural communities, public pools offer a gateway to water recreation, fostering physical fitness, relaxation, and social interaction. By bridging the gap between people and water, public swimming pools play a vital role in enhancing the overall health of individuals and our communities.

What was once an amenity for the wealthy, has become a cornerstone of our communities, and a place for people of every class and ethnic background to play together. By providing these accessible and inclusive spaces for recreation and relaxation, public pools positively impact individuals and communities, contributing to a healthier, happier, and more connected society.

International holiday

World Drowning Prevention Day is July 25! All over the world, we come together to share the impact that drowning has on families and communities and how to help prevent it. When drowning happens, the ripple of that event is felt far and wide and from many different people. 2021 was the first official time the World Drowning Prevention Day was declared by the United Nations.

International days like this are a way that we can come together as powerful advocates from all over the world. We can work together to spread awareness on how to be safer around the water. On July 25, we focus on how and why we need to come together to create urgent and coordinated efforts to lower our drowning rates everywhere. 

Learn the Facts

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 236,000 people drown each year. More than 90% of those deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Worldwide, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional death. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that, on average, 4,000-4,500 drowning deaths occur each year, of which 800-900 are children.

For children aged 1-4, drowning is the leading cause of death. This issue is felt globally, and the United Nations have come together to make a concerted and strategic effort to help create a change in these numbers.

Globally, there are common factors that contribute to a higher rate of drowning. Some of the most common are not being able to swim, missing or ineffective fences around water, lack of proper close supervision, not properly wearing a life jacket, using and ingesting alcohol or other drugs, and those who have easier access to bodies of water (including pools, bathtubs, and ponds) according to the CDC.

The CDC goes on to share that drowning disproportionately affects American Indian and Alaskan Native people aged 29 and younger, as they are 2 times as likely to drown than their White counterparts. Black children aged 10-14 drown at rates 7.6 higher than White children in swimming pools. While these numbers are scary, we can help you learn how to change them! 

How NDPA is Celebrating World Drowning Prevention Day

NDPA is celebrating World Drowning Prevention Day by sharing tools and resources to help keep you, your family, and your community safer around the water. We encourage everyone to use the 5 layers of protection – barriers and alarms, supervision, water competency, the proper use of life jackets, and having an emergency preparation plan set in place.

Learn more about these layers of protection here! Explore our website, and you can find other resources whether you are a parent, guardian, advocate, or a professional in the industry.

It’s summertime, and you know what that means: sun, swimsuits, and parties at the pool, which means pool party safety is a must! If you’re a pool owner or in the aquatics industry, you’re excited to help friends, family, and patrons enjoy a refreshing summer dip. However, pool parties are not all about fun and games; pool party safety must be a top priority. 

Here are 15 pool party safety tips to ensure everyone at your party can stay safe and make a splash!

1. Fence the Pool Area

A pool fence isn’t just for aesthetics; it’s the first layer of protection needed to prevent unintentional drowning incidents. It secures the area against unsupervised access to the water, particularly for young children and pets.
Since you can’t always keep your eyes on the water, it is essential to use physical barriers to restrict access and alarms to alert you. Click here to learn more about barriers and alarms as a layer of protection against drowning.

2. Regular Equipment Checks

It’s crucial to regularly check your pool equipment, like ladders, diving boards, and slides, to ensure they are safe and secure, especially if a pool party is about to happen. A faulty step or loose bolt can lead to accidents entirely preventable with routine inspections.

3. Display and Enforce Pool Rules 

The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes the importance of displaying pool rules as a preventative measure. Whether it’s a residential pool or a community facility, displaying pool rules is vital. 
No running, pushing, no swimming alone, or diving in shallow ends – these standard rules can prevent most pool-related accidents. To enforce these rules consistently and ensure everyone’s safety, download the NDPA pool rules signs.

4. Designate a Water Watcher

Even the most experienced swimmers can face difficulties. That’s why having constant and capable supervision is a must, especially when children are present. Adults should be actively watching the kids in the water, ready to step in immediately if something goes wrong. Remember, drowning is fast and silent, so this should be a direct responsibility for someone around the pool. If everyone is watching, no one is watching.

Identify the designated water watcher with one of our Water Watcher Tags. Just download, print, and be sure it is visible at all times.

5. Consider a Lifeguard 

For larger parties or public pools, consider having a certified lifeguard(s) on duty. They are trained to spot potential dangers and react swiftly in emergencies.

6. Conduct a Swim Test

Conducting a swim test is a great way to identify weak and non-swimmers. For weak or non-swimmers, a parent should be in the water with them at all times practicing touch supervision (being able to reach out and touch the child at all times).

7. Establish a Designated Swim Area

If your pool is large or has deep ends, guests should be instructed to keep weak and non-swimmers in shallow areas and practice touch supervision at all times.

8. CPR & First Aid Training

Accidents happen, and knowing basic first aid and CPR can make a big difference. Learning CPR with rescue breaths is critical if an aquatic emergency happens. Have a well-stocked first aid kit accessible, and consider taking a first aid course to deal with minor injuries like cuts or bruises.

9. Proper Lighting

If your pool party stretches into the evening, ensure your pool area is well-lit, both in and out of the water. Good lighting can prevent accidents and help in spotting a person in distress.

10. Keep it Clean

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), maintaining a clean and healthy pool environment is essential to minimize harmful bacteria and algae that can cause infections or illnesses. 

Regularly check and adjust the pool’s pH levels to ensure they’re within a safe range. This minimizes harmful bacteria and algae that can cause infections or illnesses. Ensuring your pool’s pH levels are within the recommended range of 7.2 – 7.8 is an effective way to achieve this.

11. Alcohol Consumption

While pool parties often involve a few drinks, monitor alcohol consumption. Consuming alcohol and swimming is dangerous, so encourage guests to drink responsibly. Water watchers and those responsible for pool party safety must abstain from drinking. 

12. Electrical Safety

Ensure all outdoor electrical equipment, such as lighting or sound systems, is suitable for outdoor use, properly installed, and away from the pool to prevent electrocution.

13. Slip-Resistant Surfaces

Wet surfaces can be slippery and hazardous. Install slip-resistant surfaces around the pool area to prevent accidental slips and falls.

14. Regular Hydration & Sun Protection

Heatstroke is a serious concern during hot summer days. Provide plenty of water for your guests and encourage regular hydration, especially for those active in the water. Also, encourage the use of sunscreen with an appropriate SPF for the location and activity.

15. Pool Safety Education

Last but not least, educating guests about pool safety can be highly effective. Awareness is key to prevention, whether it’s a quick briefing before the party or formal education sessions. Check out our Water Safety Toolkit for posters, resources, and talking points to keep your community informed.

If you’re planning a pool party, we have a number of resources available to help you get yourself and your pool ready for the festivities. You can start by downloading the NDPA Pool Safety Checklist. Use this checklist to make sure your backyard oasis is pool party ready, or use it as a checkpoint for any facilities you might be hosting your party at.

Pool parties are a fun part of the summer season. Keep these tips in mind and create a safe, enjoyable environment for everyone. 

Have you created a water safety plan for your upcoming vacation?

Now that school’s out for the summer, families from all over will flock to vacation spots, water parks, pools, and beaches for fun in the sun. There’s nothing better than a good vacation, but things can turn from fun to tragic in an instant. Sadly, drowning remains the single leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4 in the United States. 

Here are some ways to help your family prepare for being in and around the water during your next family vacation.

family creating water safety plan

Develop A Water Safety Plan With Your Family BEFORE Your Vacation

It’s important to be proactive when it comes to water safety. Sitting your family down to create a family water safety plan will help ensure everyone is on the same page in case of an emergency.

  1. Start by having all adults and teens review the 5 Layers of Protection
  2. We recommend having all family members sign up for swimming lessons and CPR/first aid classes before any vacation. Whether introducing or refreshing, continuous practice and proficiency can mean the difference between life and death.
  3. When booking accommodations, make sure that your accommodations have the 5 Layers of Protection in place. Use our Vacation Water Safety Checklists to help with your planning, booking, and packing! 
  4. Have all adults take a water rescue training class from a qualified instructor in case rescue or CPR is necessary.
  5. To ensure a quick response to emergencies, make sure the address and an emergency contact list are clearly displayed at the property and are easily accessible. 
  6. Identifying potential dangers and water features in and around the property you will be staying at to address any risks immediately upon arrival.
  7. Bring a printed copy of these Pool Rules Signs with you as a reminder for kids, family members, and guests that are visiting with you at your vacation spot.
  8. Children should never be left unsupervised. Choose a capable adult as the designated “water watcher” to keep a vigilant eye on kids in and around the water. Print out our Water Watcher Cards and bring these with you!   
  9. Bring portable door alarms for your hotel/AirBnB’s sliding doors and front doors to alert you of a child potentially leaving the room or house. 
  10. Bring personal alarms for little swimmers or pets! Always keep in mind that alarms should never be a replacement for capable adult supervision.
  11. Make sure everyone brings a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket in their size for all water sports, boating, and open water activities. 

Take the initiative and make water safety a priority on your next family vacation to help change the statistics for drowning. 

Reacting To A Water Emergency

In the face of a water emergency, every second counts. Reacting swiftly and confidently can save a life. Here are some things we recommend your family be well versed in and prepared for:

  1. If a loved one, especially a child, goes missing, always check the water first. If the missing person cannot be found, call 9-1-1 and enlist assistance while searching.
  2. If someone is found in the water, the first step is removing them from the water and laying them on a flat surface. 
  3. Call 9-1-1 immediately and give them the exact address for where you are located.
  4. While waiting for paramedics to arrive, provide CPR with rescue breaths to help sustain their vital functions. (You can alternate while waiting for emergency services to come, but do not stop).

Remember, being prepared and acting decisively in water emergencies can be life-saving. Stay vigilant, remain calm, and take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of those involved.

family safe with water safety plan

Water Safety Plan Best Practices During Your Vacation

Once you arrive at your destination, the real work begins. Before diving into the fun, set aside some time to review your water safety plan as a family. Take the first hour or so to review emergency procedures and water safety regulations. Everyone should be present and on the same page when it comes to vacation safety! Here are some best practices for you to exercise and keep at the top of your mind: 

  • Always remember that the 5 Layers of Protection are portable! Meaning you can consistently implement them to varying degrees while you’re out. 
  • Educate children on the extreme importance of water safety, and ensure that adults understand the latest statistics surrounding drowning incidents.
  • No one should ever be exploring or wandering the property alone. This is a general rule of thumb for all family members, so encourage all members of your group to use a buddy system!
  • Always exercise water safety precautions around open water and pools. There are significant variables to consider around open water, like weather and water conditions, beach flag warning systems, and staying close to lifeguard stations. 

Water safety is everyone’s responsibility, and ensuring the well-being of loved ones requires a comprehensive water safety plan. 

By involving everyone and fostering a culture of awareness, you can ensure that your family’s vacation remains an enjoyable experience for years to come!

Are you ready to dive into water safety? Look no further than the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™. This annual event brings together swimmers of all ages and skill levels for one important cause: drowning prevention. This incredible event, held across multiple cities, countries and continents, is more than just a fun day at the pool. It’s an opportunity to spread awareness about water safety and teach life-saving skills that can make all the difference in an emergency situation.

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ has become a global movement, with over 50,000 participants each year. From beginners to seasoned pros, everyone is encouraged to participate in this incredible event highlighting the importance of swim lessons and drowning prevention education.

The 2023 World’s Largest Swimming Lessonevent (WLSL), will take place on Thursday, June 22. 

Here are some facts to get ready for this important event:

  • Millions of children missed the opportunity to participate in formal swimming lessons in the past couple of years 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 2023 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson will offer hundreds of aquatic centers, swim schools, and waterparks the chance to focus on the urgency of getting kids in the water and help raise awareness about drowning and the fact that swimming is a vital life-saving skill that every child should learn.
  • What is exciting about the WLSL event is that many organizations and individual aquatic facilities are coming together to make it happen. The WLSL helps capture all our passion 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 estimates drowning is one of the top five causes of death for people ages 1-14 in 48 of the 85 countries it monitors around the globe. Swimming is a vital life-saving skill. 
  • 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 fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents occur in the U.S. during June than in any other month.
  • Nearly 80% of drowning victims are male. Also, African-American children age 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 ten 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.

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CPR with rescue breaths main blog image

When an emergency occurs, we’re often left scrambling and grasping at solutions with very little time for preparation or action. But, in the case of water safety, learning drowning CPR can mean the difference between life and death. 

CPR with rescue breaths, is an important skill to learn because drowning is considered a hypoxic event – meaning the lack of oxygen affects all of the organs in the body.  

Knowing emergency procedures, like drowning CPR, is critical because they can triple the chances of survival after cardiac arrest.

drowning cpr practicing

What is Drowning CPR?

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is the act of repeated chest compressions of the chest in an attempt to restore or maintain blood circulation in the body of someone who has gone into cardiac arrest. 

Rescue breathing is the process of blowing air into someone’s mouth who has stopped breathing to ensure that they stay oxygenated to further prevent the damage of cardiac arrest.

These two practices used together are known as drowning CPR. When used immediately, these practices have proven to be effective in reducing the likelihood of death by drowning or asphyxiation (loss of oxygen flow to the body).

Why Do We Use Drowning CPR?

Performing CPR with rescue breaths on a drowning victim is essential to maintaining blood flow and oxygenation to the brain.

In a hypoxic event, like drowning, the flow of oxygen supplied to the brain is slowed or stopped, resulting in eventual respiratory and cardiac arrest. 

According to the Health & Safety Institute, room air has an oxygen level of about 21%. Exhaled air has an oxygen level of about 16-17%, which is enough to support life in a critical emergency.

When you combine rescue breaths with chest compressions, you increase the oxygen level in the victim’s blood and are able to simulate respiration with a life-sustaining amount of breathed oxygen, thus saving their organs.

Drowning CPR is an integral part of Emergency Preparation as a layer of protection and, when used properly, can be a life-saving action.

drowning cpr class

How and When To Perform Drowning CPR:

First and foremost, if you ever encounter a victim who is not breathing, ALWAYS call 911 or have someone at the scene do so before trying to perform drowning CPR.

The underlying principles of CPR remain the same. Still, the amount of force and hand use varies depending on the victim’s age. 

The following steps are as advised by the American Red Cross. If you are ever in a position where you must perform drowning CPR, always remember that proper training and certification for CPR must be refreshed every 1-2 years, especially if there are recent changes in recommendations from the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. 

For Adults

  1. Immediately call 911
  2. Check for responsiveness using the Shout-Tap-Shout.
    1. Shout to get a response, tap on the shoulder (or bottom of the foot for babies),  shout again.
  3. Place the victim on their back on a firm and flat surface.
  4. Place two hands centered on the chest, your shoulders directly over your hands, and give 30 chest compressions at a depth of 2 inches. Allow their chest to return to normal after each compression.
  5. Open the victim’s airway using the head-tilt technique. Pinch the nose shut, take a normal breath, and make a complete seal over the person’s mouth with your mouth or a rescue mask (if available).
  6. Ensure each breath lasts about 1 second and you see the victim’s chest rise. Allow air to exit before administering the next breath.
  7. Do not stop until help arrives or until you notice an obvious sign of life.

When a trained professional arrives, clear a pathway and find a first responder to relay any known information about the drowning event to them.  

For Children and Infants :

  • If performing drowning CPR on an infant, use two thumbs side by side at the center of the baby’s chest. Alternatively, you can use two fingers placed parallel to the chest in the center of the chest, performing compressions to a depth of 1 1/2 inches.
  • Drowning CPR is vital to the survival of infants and children as their oxygen levels immediately decrease in cardiac arrest due to the lack of oxygen flow. 

According to the Health & Safety Institute, infants and children are more likely to suffer from asphyxiation due to a constriction in the airway, making rescue breaths even more essential. 

If you are reluctant or unable to perform rescue breaths, hands-only CPR is better than no CPR.

Drowning CPR Can Save Lives

CPR training is essential for medical professionals, first responders, and anyone who wants to be prepared to respond to an emergency like a drowning incident. Anyone living in a home with a pool or frequently around water should become CPR certified, focusing on CPR with rescue breaths.

Many organizations require all babysitters, teachers, and caregivers to have current CPR training and certification. In groups, it is recommended that at least one person should know CPR or have undergone CPR training.  

Proper training and certification should be refreshed every 1-2 years or more frequently if there have been recent changes in recommendations.

drowning cpr swimming class

To find a CPR and First Aid class near you, check with your local hospital, fire department, or use the American Heart Association or American Red Cross Websites. 

Drowning CPR is a life-saving technique that, when done properly, can significantly increase the rate of survival for a drowning victim or someone suffering from asphyxiation. 

It is an important part of emergency preparation as a layer of protection Though the technique varies across age ranges, the underlying fundamentals of the practice remain the same. 

Timing is of the utmost importance. If you are not trained in CPR with rescue breaths, consider taking a class to learn these life-saving skills.

To learn more about emergency preparation techniques for drowning prevention, visit ndpa.org.

pool fencing blog cover

Swimming pools can be a great source of fun and entertainment for families, but it is important to observe pool safety protocols and implement the five layers of protection. Pool fencing is an essential safety measure for any swimming pool, whether it’s a residential or a commercial pool. 

The primary purpose of pool fencing is to prevent accidental drowning, particularly for young children at high risk of drowning in swimming pools. These barriers restrict access to the water, preventing kids and pets from accidents during non-swim times. However, pool fencing also has other benefits, such as enhancing the appearance of the pool area and increasing property value.

A critical part of this is making sure that your pool has the proper fencing to prevent accidents. To help you stay safe and informed, this article will provide an overview of the key do’s and don’ts when it comes to pool fencing. It will discuss the types of materials available, installation considerations, and other important safety elements.

backyard swimming pool with fence

The Do’s of Pool Fencing:

  1. Do choose a fence that meets standards and codes.

All pool fences should comply with ASTM-F1908 standard for residential outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas. These include the height, materials, and gate requirements. Unfortunately, non-compliance can result in hefty fines in some locations, so please make sure you choose a fence that meets the standards established in your local area.

  1. Do ensure the fence is at least 4 feet high.

The height of the fence is a critical factor in preventing young children from climbing over it. The minimum height requirement for a pool fence is 4 feet.

  1. Do use self-closing and self-latching elements.

Pool gates should close and latch automatically to ensure the pool is always secure. Choose high-quality self-closing hinges and self-latching locks for your pool gate. An extra tip: make sure the gate always swings away from the pool area.

  1. Do maintain the fence regularly

Regular maintenance ensures that the fence remains in good condition and can function as a barrier effectively. Check for any damage, wear and tear, or signs of corrosion, and fix them promptly. For the fence to work properly, the gate, locking mechanism, and fence must all work together as a total system.

  1. Do consider the materials

The materials used for the fence can affect its durability, maintenance requirements, and overall appearance. Choose materials that are durable, low-maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing.

  1. Do keep the pool fence clear of any objects.

Objects such as chairs or toys can be used as a climbing aid for children to get over the fence. Keep the pool fence area clear of any objects that could potentially be used as a climbing aid.

  1. Do ensure the fence is installed by a professional.

Installing a pool fence can be complicated, and a professional installer can ensure that the fence meets the standards and is installed correctly. Use the NDPA and Fence Group app if you need help getting started.

  1. Do consider adding additional safety measures.

While a pool fence is an effective safety barrier, adding additional safety measures such as pool covers or alarms can provide extra protection for your family and visitors.

  1. Do ensure the gate is locked when not in use.

Keep your pool gate locked at all times. Keeping your pool gate locked when not in use can prevent unauthorized access to the pool area, reducing the risk of accidental drowning.

  1. Do educate children about pool safety.

Teaching children about pool safety and the importance of the pool fence can help prevent accidents. Ensure children understand the pool rules and know to never go near the water without adult supervision.

While pool fencing can be an effective barrier, it’s essential to use it correctly. Fences, barriers, and alarms are only 1 of the 5 layers of protection.

fenced swimming pool

The Don’ts:

  1. Don’t leave gaps in your pool fence

One of the most significant don’ts of pool fencing is leaving gaps in the fence. These gaps can be tempting for children to crawl through, and they can also allow pets to access the pool area. Ensure your fence is completely secure and has no gaps or holes that small children or pets could crawl through.

  1. Don’t forget to put away toys and furniture

Simply having a fence around a swimming pool does not provide complete protection for young children, who may find ways to climb over the barrier. Take the necessary steps to ensure that any objects that could help them climb over the pool fencing (such as toys, steps or furniture) are kept away from the pool area, particularly when not in use.

  1. Don’t use a fence that is too short

Your pool fence should be at least 4 feet high. Using a fence that is too short can compromise the safety of your pool area, making it easy for children to climb over or pets to jump over.

  1. Don’t use a fence with horizontal bars

While horizontal bar fences may look attractive, they can be a safety hazard. Children can use the bars as footholds to climb over the fence, and pets can also use them to jump over. It’s best to use a fence with vertical bars or mesh to prevent climbing.

  1. Don’t forget to maintain your pool fence

A pool fence is only effective if it’s well-maintained. Regularly check your fence for any damage or wear and tear, and repair any issues promptly. Also, keep the area around the fence clear to prevent anyone from using objects to climb over.

  1. Don’t use a fence with a low-quality lock

Your pool gate’s lock is essential to its safety. A low-quality lock can be easily bypassed, allowing unauthorized access to the pool area. Invest in a high-quality lock that can’t be easily picked or tampered with.

  1. Don’t use a fence that doesn’t comply with regulations

Each area may have specific regulations for pool fencing. Make sure that your fence complies with these regulations to ensure that it’s effective in keeping your pool area safe.

  1. Don’t rely on pool covers instead of a fence

Pool covers are not a substitute for a fence. They can be easily removed, and they don’t provide a physical barrier that can prevent children or pets from accessing the pool area. Always use a fence in conjunction with a pool cover for maximum safety.

  1. Don’t use a fence that is too close to the pool

Your fence should be at least 4 ft away from the pool’s edge. This distance helps prevent someone from falling into the pool while trying to climb the fence. It also provides space for maintenance and repairs without disturbing the pool area.

  1. Don’t forget to supervise children

Finally, while a pool fence can be an effective barrier, it’s important to remember that it’s not foolproof. Always supervise children when they’re near the pool, even if a fence is in place. It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen, so never leave children unattended near the pool.

Pool fencing is a crucial safety measure that can save lives. By following the do’s and don’ts of pool fencing as a barrier, you can ensure your pool area is safe and enjoyable for everyone. Remember, safety should always be your top priority.