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Hello, NDPA Conference Attendees & Supporters, 

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult and unprecedented time. As you know, the 2020 National Water Safety Conference is scheduled for April 6-9 in Fort Worth, TX. Given government regulations, employer travel restrictions, published public health recommendations, and participant safety, it is impossible to host our in-person conference in Fort Worth. Instead, we are excited to announce that we will be moving the 2020 National Water Safety Conference to a new and interactive virtual format to be held over the same dates. 



The NDPA Board of Directors has had extensive discussions over the past week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt a responsibility to host our conference as it is the kick-off to the drowning prevention season and although unquantifiable, we know, saves lives.  We also felt it was our duty to our alliance members, supporters, and the nation as we fear drowning rates will dramatically increase as children and families will have extended time at home and potential exposure to water more than ever. Therefore, we mobilized quickly, reviewed our options and determined the best course of action.  

We as the NDPA, recognize the serious role our annual conference plays to support professionals, advocates, educators, parents, and all drowning prevention warriors in preparing for the upcoming season and have become equally excited to deliver the most value in a flexible and innovative way. 

We have expanded our conference team in the past few days to include experts and experienced individuals who will help us ensure we can successfully deliver you the best value possible. Yes, our upcoming conference will be different, just as many things are in our lives right now. While it is not possible for us to deliver the same in-person experience, we have come up with something as valuable that will allow many more people to “join” our conference than ever before. Our commitment to you is to work harder than ever to provide each of you with a meaningful and well executed event that provides exceptional educational opportunities.  

We will be providing more information about online participation and support in the coming days to attendees, speakers, and sponsors.
 ·      ATTENDEES: We will be communicating with you on a regular basis to inform you of our conference schedule and ways to make the most of your online participation.
·      SPEAKERS: We will be communicating with you in the next 48 hours to provide you with information about the delivery of your presentation. Please keep an eye out for further information via email.
·      EXHIBITORS/SPONSORS: We will be communicating with you by the end of this week regarding your options for virtual participation and adjusted benefits. 

Again, thank you for your continued patience during this time. We will have further information available for all participants in the coming days. We know that this is an extremely unusual and unprecedented time in the world. The NDPA will be working constantly to ensure we can provide the drowning prevention and water safety community with the most important education and connectivity possible. Thank you for helping us save lives! 

Best regards, 
Adam 

Adam B. Katchmarchi, Ph.D., EMT-B
Executive Director
National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Feb. 26, 2020 

Registration for the 2020 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (#WLSL2020) is officially open. This year’s event will take place Thursday, June 18, 2020. Organizers are urging aquatic facilities of all types to utilize the global, one-day event to increase awareness about the importance of learning to swim in their local communities.

Registration is now open at WLSL.org. The 2020 event will take place over the course of 24 hours on Thursday, June 18th. #WLSL2020
Registration is now open at WLSL.org. The 2020 event will take place over the course of 24 hours on Thursday, June 18th. #WLSL2020

The worldwide event provides kids and parents exposure to life-saving water safety skills while building awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim and undistracted adult supervision to help prevent drowning.

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ will take place on six continents over 24 hours on Thursday, June 18, 2020, as a platform for the aquatics industry to use one voice to send a clear message about the crucial importance of teaching kids to swim. Individual host locations and aquatics providers can conduct the 30-minute lesson any time of day they choose on the 18th.

Per the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, accounting for 7 percent of all injury-related deaths worldwide. In the U.S., drowning remains the leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4, and the second leading cause for children under 14.

However, there is reason to hope. Since the WLSL event launched in 2010, the Swimming Lessons Save Lives™ message has been shared with more than two billion people in the U.S. alone. Facilities of all kinds are encouraged to join TEAM WLSL® in their mission to prevent childhood drowning through education. Register at https://www.wlsl.org/WLSL/host_an_event.aspx

About The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™
WLSL was created as a platform to build awareness about the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim to prevent drowning. WLSL events have provided more than 159,000 working hours of water safety training, more than 20,000 hours each year during the one-day event. Since its inception, more than 319,000 children and adults in 48 countries have participated in WLSL lessons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApSY4iFZCDc

Contact: 
Aleatha Ezra
234888@email4pr.com 
Phone: 913-599-0300

SOURCE World Waterpark Association

Related Links

http://WLSL.org

NDPA Lifesaver Award

The National Drowning Prevention Alliance is happy to announce that the winner of the 2020 Lifesaver of the Year Award is David Benjamin, Director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

The NDPA Lifesaver of the Year Award’s purpose is to acclaim and honor exceptional work in the advancement of water safety and drowning prevention, recognizing an organization’s or individual’s commitment to safer water and the reduction of drowning and aquatic injury.

The recipient of this award is chosen from a pool of candidates nominated to the NDPA and voted on through the NDPA Facebook Page. Having been confirmed by the NDPA Executive Committee and Board of Directors, this year’s recipient is Founder and Director of the Great Lakes Rescue Project, David Benjamin for the dedication he has shown in continuing to fight endlessly to prevent drownings through education and advocacy. 

David Benjamin, Director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
David Benjamin, Director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

The NDPA would like to thank Mr. Benjamin for his support and will be greatly honored to present this award at the awards ceremony to be held on Monday, April 6th during the 2020 National Water Safety Conference in Fort Worth, TX.

United, we can prevent the tragedy of drowning! 

NDPA Joins Water Safety USA

Water Safety USA is a roundtable of longstanding national nonprofit and governmental organizations with a strong record of providing drowning prevention and water safety programs, including public education.​

Water Safety USA logo
Be #WaterCautious. Prevent Unsupervised Access ​to Water

Water Safety USA’s mission is to empower people with resources, information, and tools to safely enjoy and benefit US aquatic environments. Its overarching approach is to engage in ongoing dialog aimed at improving the delivery of water safety information, tools and resources in such a way that their effectiveness is maximized.

The National Drowning Prevention Alliance is happy to announce that as of December 2019, the NDPA is an official member of Water Safety USA. “The NDPA is thrilled to announce our membership of such an important collective effort to combat drowning and make water safer.” said NDPA executive director Dr. Adam Katchmarchi. “We are proud and honored to join the roundtable and closely with other Water Safety USA members to enhance the mission of the NDPA.”

According to Water Safety USA, they have managed to harness the individual identities of each of its members as well as their objectives and further their reach through collective and collaborative strategies that are meant to increase the impact and effectiveness of our water safety and drowning prevention efforts.

With great satisfaction the NDPA joins the roundtable of equals that is Water Safety USA confident in the fact that will help us reach our ultimate goal of substantially reducing the number of unintentional drowning incidents and deaths reported in the United States of America.

NDPA 2019 Achievements

Every day, an average of ten people die from unintentional drowning. Drowning continues to rank fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States and second for causes of death in children aged 14 and under. 

The NDPA continues to work hard to bring those numbers down through water safety awareness, education and advocacy. As 2019 draws to a close, we look back and take stock of the progress made to further our goals of drowning prevention:

These achievements would not have been possible without the support and contributions of all our members, partners and sponsors and above all the commitment and dedication of the NDPA Board Members. 

We are ready to welcome a new year and a new decade with redoubled efforts to prevent drowning and promote water safety best practices throughout the country.

United, we can prevent the tragedy of drowning. Support the NDPA today!

home safety for the holidays

The holidays are a time of lots of fun and activity in the average household. It is a time when most people are out of their normal, daily routine hosting family gatherings and celebrating with friends and neighbors. With all the hustle and bustle, accidents are more prone to happen which is why homeowners must make additional efforts to keep family members, guests and pets as safe as possible.

Bear in mind that ages and stages make a huge difference in home and water safety so be sure to take them into consideration when prepping your home for the December festivities because the littlest of details can make a huge difference.

The NDPA recently hosted an online webinar where our guest speakers shared a bevy of safety tips that can be easily applied during the holiday season. Here are a few basic precautions to ensure you and yours remain injury-free throughout the season.

  • Make a quick list of local emergency numbers to keep on hand and make copies for friends and family visiting. 
  • When cooking, set timers and always be attentive of what is on the stove to avoid fires.
  • Child safety should be delegated to someone who can actively supervise them without distractions. Hosts need to learn to “pass the baton” and make sure there is always someone watching the kids.
  • Walk your guests through your home and property and point out the layers of protection that are in place explaining what to be on the lookout for to make sure everyone is safe.
  • If you have open water areas on your property, set the rules as to where kids can go without an adult and be sure everyone is ware of them.
  • Designated watchers can play games to keep kids busy and occupied. Find fun ways to distract them so they don’t go our and seek entertainment on their own.
  • Use LED lights when decorating your home. They don’t get as hot as regular ones which means your tree won’t dry out so quickly and become a bigger fire hazard.
  • Make sure your tree is watered everyday to prevent early dryness.
  • Watch candle placements in your home and be sure they are far from curtains and not within reach of kids and pets. Be aware that they don’t burn down too low and crack the glass that encases them or that they burn the surface on which that are placed.
  • Put together a family newsletter in advance and send out before house-guests arrive. Go over it together and make sure the inherent safety message is well received.
  • A newsletter is also a great way to give family members information that can be shared with others such as emergency numbers, the exact address where they are staying and any emergency plan that you may have in place.
  • Make an action plan to get through an emergency that details who you are going to call and where you are going to go.
  • If the worst situation happens, be ready by knowing exactly where you are and where the nearest hospital  is. Try to stay calm during the emergency, call 911 and listen attentively to any instructions the operator might give you.
  • Learn CPR and make sure other family members and guests have this life-saving skill as well.

What safety measures do you have in place at home to prevent accidents during the holidays?

swimming lessons

The re-posting of an opinion article from Slate entitled “Swim Lessons Won’t Keep Your Toddler From Drowning” on the NDPA’s Facebook Page sparked a passionate discussion about the use of swim lessons as a layer of protection to prevent drowning.

The NDPA thanks all of you for taking the time to comment and for your dedication and support of drowning prevention and we encourage respectful commentary. Given the nature of the commentary on this piece and on previous posts, the NDPA felt it important to provide clarity, define our position as the NDPA, and respond to key issues raised.

It is paramount to state first that the NDPA wholeheartedly believes that swimming lessons are an important layer of protection. At many points in the Facebook commentary, the NDPA was accused of attacking swim lessons as an ineffective way of preventing drowning. That is not accurate and it doesn’t not represent our beliefs as an organization.

We do however, believe that we cannot rely solely on one singular layer of protection to prevent drowning. We often cite swim lessons in this context as there have been many incidents in which skilled swimmers have drown. However, we also hold this same belief when it comes to other layers of protection. Pool fences are an important layer, and they can fail. As can self-closing, self-latching gates. One can forget to put a pool cover back on the pool and an alarm’s batteries can expire. Just like skilled swimmers can drown, layers of protection must operate in combination to truly work. This is why the NDPA encourages people to practice all layers of protection, including learning to swim from high quality lessons.

We are confident that many of you would agree, there is no quick and easy solution that will prevent all drowning. This reality is one of the reasons drowning has been so difficult to stop. The polarization and infighting amongst drowning prevention advocates has also played a major role. As an alliance, we represent all areas of water safety and drowning prevention. We support all layers of protection and, as the Alliance, we will not frame our messaging to focus only on one layer.

We appreciate the passion behind the support of learning to swim but if we only focus on the positive effects, we would be doing a disservice to our audience and the public at large. The author of the article in question was making a point that research shows that parents can become overly reliant on swim lessons as a method to protect their children from drowning. The author is not arguing that swimming lessons aren’t a vital part of protecting a child from drowning. Her point was to shed light on the fact that parent’s over estimate their child’s ability and the need for direct supervision after swimming lessons.

An important item we must address is the accusation that the NDPA is not citing research-based studies to support our stance. As the leading organization in drowning prevention and water safety, we firmly believe that research and evidence-based approaches are of paramount importance. While the NDPA did not write the article posted on our Facebook page, we will stand by the fact that the author does cite relevant research in drowning prevention literature. Please see the list of relevant published research studies below that are often used by the NDPA and some of which were discussed in the article in question.

The research published by Dr. Barbara Morrongiello in 2014 that this article cites is an example. The research showed that “as parents perceive their child to be accumulating swim skills, they increasingly believe that children are capable of keeping themselves from drowning, and as a result, that less active parent supervision of the child is necessary.” Obviously, the parent education component of a learn to swim lesson is vital for parents to fully understand the outcomes of swimming lessons. Parents need to appreciate their child’s abilities in the water after swim lessons and that no one of any age or ability level should swim by themselves. We as the NDPA are not insinuating that a swim instructor would claim that their swim lessons will “drown-proof a child”. However, the article points out that parents can make that assumption on their own, given the results of Dr. Morrongiello’s research.

Another example is related to the statistic that learning to swim will reduce the risk of drowning by 88%. This study was not conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), but by Dr. Ruth Brenner and her colleagues at the National Institute of Child Health and Development and published in 2009. We all applaud the AAP’s move to change the age recommendations and push for starting the learn to swim process at younger ages. However, this article points out important components of the research conducted in by Dr. Brenner and her associates that are often overlooked. We often hear the statistic from this study that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%. It is often missed that this research had a small sample size and the 95% confidence intervals regarding the protective effects were 3%-99%. There is no argument that this study is an important step forward and has been cited by the AAP as a key reason why they made their recent modifications. However, it is important to note that the team behind this study points to the limitations of their own research and that “swimming skills alone are insufficient to protect a child from drowning.”

There are several research studies below that we as the NDPA have also used in the past to support our stance on several issues. The insinuation that the NDPA does not support, does not believe in, or does not follow relevant evidence and research-based studies and advancements in drowning prevention and water safety is simply inaccurate, unfounded, and completely false. With all due respect, the comments that state the research cited is outdated and inconsistent, furthers the problem we are facing. An example is that AAP just modified their statement and stance regarding swimming lessons this year. That doesn’t make all previous research invalid or inaccurate. We may need to look at opinions, commentary, and research conducted or produced prior to that with the recent changes made in the front of our minds, however, that doesn’t mean we should toss aside any, and everything published prior to 2019. 

Additionally, we never intend to muddy the waters or create inconsistent messages in the drowning prevention space. Our true intent is to advance the discussion by sharing viewpoints, information, and educational content that pushes the drowning prevention and water safety community to have productive discussions addressing the problems we face. This isn’t easy and sometimes can lead to controversy. We are all working to reduce drowning, and as stated before and there is no cure-all to this awful tragedy. We may not always agree on a singular viewpoint. We may disagree with certain people’s opinions. We may find the results of a research study to be unhelpful or in direct contradiction of current messaging. Someone having a differing viewpoint or approach to solving a complex problem (like drowning), doesn’t make them wrong. Having an open discussion and addressing issues where there is disagreement is important and the only action that will advance our shared goals. The NDPA will continue to promote an open and honest discussion about drowning prevention and water safety that is factual, evidence based, and honest as this is our responsibility and role in this space.

Our goal by writing this blog article today is to inform our audience of our decision-making process and the NDPA’s stance on layers of protection as well as our role in the drowning prevention space. It is not to further any arguments or criticism that the NDPA received in relation to this opinion article and in many other instances when sharing various information on our Facebook page. We fully understand and appreciate how highly emotional this topic can be. Our goal is to reduce the number of awful tragedies that causes this to be such an emotional topic. While many disagree with the author or the opinion piece’s tone; we did not share this to support her tone. We shared this work to again shed light on the fact that we can’t be overly reliant on one layer of protection.

The nature of the NDPA as an “alliance” organization means that we, as an alliance, are all in this together. That does not mean its easy and we all agree on everything. But we all can agree drowning is preventable and that the use of multiple layers of protection save lives. With a complex issue such as drowning; the discussion, refinement, and education of the preventative measures will sometimes lead to situations where we find ourselves disagreeing with approaches, messaging, and each other. In these cases, we all need to remind ourselves and others that we share the same goal, to prevent drowning and to save lives.

List of Relevant Research Studies

Blitivich, J. D., Moran, K., Petrass, L. A., McElroy, G. K., & Stanley, T. (2012). Swim instructor beliefs about toddler and preschool swimming and water safety education. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 6(2), 110-121.

Brenner, R. A., Taneja, G. S., Haynie, D. L., Trumble, A. C., Qian, C., Kliner, R. M., & Klebanoff, M. A. (2009). Association between swimming lessons and drowning in childhood. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, 163(3), 203-210. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2008.563.

Golob, M. I., Giles, A. R., & Rich, K. M. (2013). Enhancing the relevance and effectiveness of water safety education for ethnic and racial minorities. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 7(1), 39-55.

Irwin, C. C., Irwin, R. L., Ryan, T. D., & Drayer, J. (2009). The mythology of swimming: Are myths impacting minority youth participation? International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 3(1), 10-23.

Irwin, C. C., Irwin, R. L., Ryan, T. D., & Drayer, J. (2009). Urban minority youth swimming (in)ability in the United States and associated demographic characteristics: Towards and drowning prevention plan. Injury Prevention, 15(4), 234-239.

Katchmarchi, A. B., Taliaferro, A. R., & Kipfer, H. J., (2017). Document analysis in drowning prevention education, International Journal of Injury Prevention & Safety Promotion. doi: 10.1080/17457300.2017.1341932

Lynch, T. J. (2012). Swimming and water safety: Reaching all children in Australian primary schools. Can you swim? An exploration of measuring real and perceived water competency. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 6(2), 267-278.

Martin, N. T., & Witman, D. (2010). Factors affecting minority drowning. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 4(1), 9-18.

Moran, K., Stallman, R. K., Kjendlie, P., Dahl, D., Blitvich, J. D., Petrass, L. A., … & Shimongata, S. (2012). Can you swim? An exploration of measuring real and perceived water competency. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 6(2), 122-135.

Moran, K. (2008). Will they sink or swim? New Zealand youth water safety knowledge and skills. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 2(2), 114-127.

Moran, K. (2008). Youth aquatic recreation: The pleasures and pitfalls of an aquatic lifestyle in New Zealand. In N.P. Beaulieu (Ed.), Physical activity and children: New research (pp. 35–63). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Moran, K. (2009). Parent/caregiver perception and practice of child water safety at the beach. International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 16(4), 215-221. doi: 10.1080/17457300903307045

Moran, K. (2009). Parents, pals, or pedagogues? How youth learn about water safety. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 3(2), 121-134

Moran, K., & Stanley T. (2006). Toddler drowning prevention: Teaching parents about water safety in conjunction with their child’s in-water lessons. International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 13(4), 254-256.

Morrongiello, B.A, Sandomierski, M., & Spence, J. R. (2013). Changes over swim lessons in parents’ perceptions of children’s supervision needs in drowning risk situations: “His swimming has improved so now he can keep himself safe.Health Psychology 32(9), 1-8. doi: 10.1037/a0033881

Ramos, W., Beale, A., Chamber, P., Dalke, S., Fielding, R., Kublick, L, … Wernicki, P. (2015). Primary and secondary drowning interventions: The American Red Cross circle of drowning prevention and chain of drowning survival, International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 9, 89-101. doi: 10.1123/ijare.2014-0045

Sbarbaro, V. S., & Enyeart Smith, T. M. (2011). An analysis of water safety behaviors among migrant and economically/educationally disadvantage middle school students. The Health Educator, 43(1), 21-28.

Stallman, R. K., Junge, M., & Blixt, T. (2008). The teaching of swimming based on a model derived from the cause of drowning.  International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 2(4), 372-382.

Yang, L., Nong, Q.M., Li, C., Feng, Q.M., Lo, & S.K. (2007). Risk factors for childhood drowning in rural regions of a developing country; A case-control study. Injury Prevention, 13(3), 178-182. doi: 10.1136/ip.2006.013409

Giving Tuesday
The National Drowning Prevention Alliance is Joining the Global GivingTuesday Movement to gather funds for our Material Requests Program.

Tustin, CA. – 11/10/2019 – This GivingTuesday, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance will celebrate giving by launching a fundraiser for the occasion that will allow us to continue supporting communities in need with their water safety educational efforts. The funds gathered will be destined to fulfill the hundreds of requests the NDPA receives every month through our Material Requests Program.

Education is an effective way to reduce drowning incidents.

GivingTuesday, taking place December 3rd, is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage giving and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Every year, on GivingTuesday, millions of people across the globe mobilize to show up, give back, and change their communities. The goal is to create a massive wave of generosity that lasts well beyond that day, and touches every person on the planet.

Founded in 2012, GivingTuesday has inspired millions of people to give back and support the causes they believe in. In just seven years, GivingTuesday has radically changed how we think about generosity and showed just how much power communities everywhere have to create change.

“When GivingTuesday launched in the US in 2012, we believed that technology and social media could be used to make generosity go viral,” said Asha Curran, GivingTuesday’s CEO and co-founder. “We believed in the idea that people fundamentally want to give and to talk about giving; and that the social sector had the capacity to show more innovative leadership, creativity, and collaboration. People and organizations around the world proved us right. As we prepare for December 3, we’re energized and encouraged by the community’s generosity. The levels of creativity, effort and the quality of the new ideas people have contributed and shared are phenomenal.”

Those who are interested in joining National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s GivingTuesday initiative can visit https://ndpa.org/givingtuesday-2019/ . For more details about the GivingTuesday movement, visit the GivingTuesday website (www.givingtuesday.org), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday) or follow @GivingTuesday and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Twitter.

About the National Drowning Prevention Alliance

As an educational resource for the United States and beyond, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance strives to place emphasis on research, awareness, and policy changes to impact the incidence of toddler drownings in swimming pools, bathtubs, spas and jacuzzis. The result has been an unprecedented growth and presence in national and local drowning prevention efforts.

The NDPA is relentless in the pursuit of its number one goal to put an end to child drownings being the leading cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.

About GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in the U.S. and in countries around the world. GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners
to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world.

To learn more about GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please  visit:

Website: www.givingtuesday.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday

Twitter: twitter.com/GivingTuesday

Instagram: instagram.com/GivingTuesday

Swimming lesson as a layer of protection

Swim skills add a layer of protection to prevent drowning incidents.


Formal swimming lessons reduce the risk of drowning among children 1-4 years. This is the only sport that can actually save lives and can also reduce the risk of drowning among older individuals.

Everyone Should Learn To Swim 

Swimming is not an instinctive skill for humans. We can not survive in water unless we are taught how to swim. All adults and children should learn to swim.

Role of Swim Lessons 

Adults should be smart and aware and never consider children have been “drown proofed” because they’ve had swim lessons. Nothing will ever eliminate the risk of drowning because it simply doesn’t discriminate. Even an Olympic swimmer can drown.

When to Start 

Always speak with your pediatrician before considering any water safety/swimming lessons for children. With the right instruction, children can gain skills and a love for the water even at a young age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their policy statement regarding drowning prevention stating that swim lessons are beneficial for children starting around age 1, and may lower drowning rates.

Once parents have decided their child is developmentally ready for swim lessons, they should proceed to look for a program that has experienced, well-trained instructors and fits their budget.

Include Water Safety Education 

Ensure that swim instruction includes water safety and survival education at the appropriate developmental level.

Ideally, programs should teach ‘water competency’ too – the ability to get out of the water if your child ends up in the water unexpectedly.

Selecting a Program 

Check if the instructor is trained in swim instruction, child development, and currently certified in CPR (some are not). Observe classes before enrollment and monitor lessons for safety skills, the effectiveness of the instructor, the child’s reception to learning, and progress. Lessons should be continuous, year-round, not taken for just one season as skills need to be developed and maintained for life.

Even the best swim lessons cannot “drown-proof” a child, and we strongly recommend parents take the necessary steps to make their child’s environment safer. For homes with a pool, the most important safety measure is a 4-sided fence that completely surrounds the pool and isolates it from the house.

More swimmers will result in a healthier society, fewer drownings, and reduced healthcare costs for the country.

Layers of protection that address emergencies

“Layers of protection” is a term used to define and classify the majority of strategies directly affecting aquatic environments in their quest to prevent childhood drowning.

Drowning remains a significant public health concern as it 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 (CDC, WISQARS, 2005).

Water-related injuries also affect a significant number of American children. It is estimated that as many as twenty percent of drowning victims suffer severe, permanent neurological disability. Knowing what to do in a water emergency, including how to help someone in trouble in the water safely, can help reduce these numbers.

The following layers of protection 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.

Telephone  

Emergency pool phone by ePoolphone

Keep a phone poolside (a land line with the pool’s physical address is best) for emergency use so that an adult can call for help if needed. (Calling from a cell phone won’t automatically tell the 911 operator the location.)

Learn CPR 

Learn CPR and rescue breathing

Anyone who lives in a home with a pool should learn CPR and rescue breathing. Ensure that babysitters have current CPR training and certification.  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.

In a group, such as a pool party, at least one person should know CPR.  Anyone who is the sole supervisor of a child should learn CPR and rescue breathing.

Water Safety and Rescue Course 

Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Course

Pool owners and operators should enroll in a local water safety course that teaches proper rescue techniques. Course should include hands-on practice using a shepherd’s hook and life-saving ring.

Organizations like the American Red Cross offer water safety and rescue courses and certifications.

Rescue Equipment 

Life ring at swimming pool

Keep a life-saving ring and shepherd’s hook at poolside.

CPR instructions should be posted poolside. 

Know how to use the rescue equipment and perform CPR.

Search  

If a child is missing, always check the pool first.  Seconds count. If a child cannot be located immediately, call 9-1-1 and enlist assistance in the search. 

Read the complete Layers of Protection Position Paper for more information on the steps you can take to prevent drowning.

Sign up for the NDPA Newsletter for more information on water safety awareness events, resources and more ways you can contribute to prevent drowning.