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The ultimate goal of the following events is to bring together professionals and supporters from all aspects of aquatics and drowning prevention to network, advocate, educate, improve, and expand the entire industry in the country.

World Aquatic Health Conference

The World Aquatic Health Conference is the industry’s leading educational conference on aquatics. Celebrating its 17th year, WAHC 2020 will continue the tradition of disseminating cutting edge science relevant to all segments of the pool and spa market.

Join virtually on October 15-16 to experience cutting-edge aquatic research presented by industry experts across the globe and network with like-minded professionals, industry leaders and experts.

USSSA National Conference

Come together virtually September 15-17, 2020 with top notch industry speakers, fellow members, industry partners, and friends at this year’s USSSA National Conference! The agenda is comprised of live sessions, on-demand sessions, and interactive workshops. 

Although this year’s conference is different than years past, it is not one to be missed! 

WWA 40th Anniversary Symposium & Trade Show

Join fellow waterpark owners, operators, developers, designers and suppliers for the WWA’s 40th Anniversary Symposium & Trade Show, October 6-9, 2020, at Caesars Forum Conference Center & Harrah’s Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

The trade show will be located at the all new Caesars Forum Conference Center, which is located behind the High Roller in the LINQ Promenade area. The headquarters hotel will be Harrah’s Las Vegas, which is connected to the Caesars Forum Conference Center.

The WWA Show continues to be the water leisure industry’s most popular market place for the waterpark industry, as it offers the following opportunities for professional growth and development. To review complete details about the show or to register, click below. 

The International Pool, Spa and Patio Expo

The International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo, co-located with DeckExpo (PSP/DeckExpo), is reimagining this year’s event.

The decision to transition the event was not reached easily, however, based on feedback and the support of the community, the organization felt it was the right choice for their partners, sponsoring associations, attendees, and exhibitors. The virtual event will be hosted over the same dates, November 11 – 13, with registration opening later this fall. 

If you have an event the NDPA should be aware of, let us know in a comment!

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

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

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




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

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




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

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




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

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




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

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




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

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

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Sarah Christianson is a wife, mother, RN, model and water safety advocate. The views expressed in this article are entirely her own and do not represent the opinions of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.

The smile on her face quickly faded and soon tears started to surface with a look of fear accompanied by the silent plead for me to come save her. This is what no parent wants to watch unfold. Being torn from wanting to jump into full mommy mode and whisk your daughter away from her fear or the side of making her stick with the swim class that she has quickly grown to hate.

My daughter Aubrey, 5 years old, had just started weekly swim lessons at one of our local gyms. We happen to luck out with her being the only kiddo to sign up for her time slot. Hello private lessons without the price tag (mom win)! She loved every moment of them, the 1:1 attention, the constant praise and reinforcement from her instructor. Each end to the lesson she would have the biggest smile on her face and ask how many days until next week’s lesson. I couldn’t be happier! I mean, how could I not be jumping for joy to see my daughter be excited to learn one of the most important skills in life?! Little did I know that the joy would be short lived.

On week three the instructor informed me that a set of siblings would be joining the class. They had been signed up in the wrong class and now moved to Aubrey’s class. She let Aubrey and myself know that they were “deathly afraid of water” and would need lots of help . I remember her smiling at Aubrey, saying “but I know you can help me and show them how brave we can be in the water.” The mommy red flag was starting to wave like the flag at the beginning of a Nascar race. It wasn’t my daughter’s job to show them the ropes, and if they needed that much attention what would happen to Aubrey during the class? So many questions swirled, but only time would tell.

The following week we headed into swim lessons and quickly spotted the new additions to her class. Both were crying, one more than the other, and neither wanting to go anywhere near the pool. As I sat and watched the instructor try to get them into the water I glanced over at Aubrey who was standing in the water wide eyed with a look of “what is happening?” written clearly across her face. The majority of the class was spent trying to help the new kiddos stop crying and Aubrey looking back at me with a look of confusion as her turns were shortened. I wondered how long this would continue. After class I praised Aubrey for trying her hardest and for showing the kiddos how fun being in swim lessons could be. She was a little quieter than usual, but I didn’t want any extra focus or conversation on the fear of the others or how she didn’t get as much attention. 

Before we knew it the week had passed and we were back for the next lesson. This is when everything fully flipped. We not only were told we had a new instructor, but the new kiddos were almost double the tears and fears then last week. Aubrey’s smiles faded before the whole group even got into the water. This is when the facial pleads for help surfaced and the tears started to arise. Aubrey would motion that she needed to go to the bathroom and once in the bathroom she would stall, fully knowing she was missing out in class. The class would eventually end and she cried and cried, begging me not to make her go back, that she never wanted to go in the water again.

I’m a strong believer that every child, no matter the age, needs to learn to float and swim! It’s essential in life! So what was I supposed to do for my daughter? There were other swim facilities in town, but I had heard similar stories of large kid to instructor ratios and stories of moms that had to jump into the class to grab their child because the instructor wasn’t watching and the child was treading water. I didn’t feel qualified to teach my daughter to float and swim, because what did I know of all the proper techniques? I came from the days of your parents throwing you in the local pool and just telling you to paddle like a dog and figure it out. I wanted something different, something better for my daughter.

It truly was a miracle that the same day as the last swim lesson someone told me about the Float 4 Life National Training Center right here in Lincoln. I immediately jumped on social media and stalked their page and then their website. From the 1:1 ratios and the fact that they have the Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness Program had me ready to make an appointment. After meeting with staff at Float 4 Life I realized within minutes this is were Aubrey needed to be! This is where we would reverse the fear and see joy again!

There’s something to be said about watching your child overcome fear and grow with excitement in what they are doing. I’m so grateful that I listened to my mothers intuition and sought out a different alternative to where we were at. I believe that we always have the opportunity to change our paths in life, no matter the journey we are on, and this was exactly what we did for our daughter! We chose to not settle and find something better for her! This is why it’s so important for me to spread the word about not settling for mediocre and demand the best when it comes to our kids and learning this life skill! 

The relief I feel knowing my daughter is getting amazing instructions and no longer has the paralyzing fear of water means the world to me! I already have several friends asking questions and making appointments to have their kiddos come to Float 4 Life, because they’ve seen the difference and thought they just had to tough it out. If my journey with Aubrey helps at least one child have a better experience with learning to swim then that means that’s one more child that we prevent from drowning!  I hope I can help educate more parents about the importance of water safety and what to look for before enrolling in water safety training.

Sarah Christianson

@always_be_unstoppable

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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

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.

World Swim Day is October 26, 2019 and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance is proud to sponsor this year’s virtual swim with MySwimPro. Swimmers who participate have a chance to win a variety of big prizes. 

World Swim Day is an international holiday that empowers people around the world to be more active through swimming.

World Swim Day is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of October every year. The holiday promotes living a healthy lifestyle through swimming and raises awareness for the importance of water safety. World Swim Day events are independently organized around the world for swimmers of all ages. There are over 100 million fitness swimmers in the world, and yet there are over 4 billion people who do not know how to swim.

How To Participate

  1. Visit worldswimday.org and register for FREE.
  2. Download the MySwimPro app on iPhone or Android
  3. On World Swim Day (October 26, 2019) open the MySwimPro app and choose one of the six free World Swim Day workouts.
  4. Get in and swim the World Swim Day workout!
  5. Share a photo or video on social media with the hashtag #WorldSwimDay to be entered to win prizes!

You could win lots of great prizes from World Swim Day sponsors!

To be eligible for prizes your profile must be set to public when using the hashtag #WorldSwimDay. See World Swim Day stories from last year that took place around the world here.

World Swim Day was initially conceived within MySwimPro, Inc. to increase participation in swimming and promote water safety inclusive of geography, language, and skills. In the first year, World Swim Day saw participation from swimmers in over 100 countries and funds were raised for three learn-to swim non-profit organizations. The international event is more than a virtual swim, but also serves as an opportunity to connect a global community that shares a mutual passion for the water.

World Swim Day Workouts

Whether you’re a new swimmer or elite competitor you can participate in the #WorldSwimDay virtual swim! Workouts range from 100 meters to 10,000 meters. Choose a workout that best fits your fitness level and motivation! You can read more about each workout below.

  1.  Just Get Wet – 100-200 Meters
  2.  The Jellyfish Float – 500 Meters
  3. The Tropical Mile – 1,600 Meters
  4.  The Sizzler – 3,000 Meters
  5. Humpback 5k Challenge – 5,000 Meters
  6. 10k Shark Test Set – 10,000 Meters

All workouts can be personalized in the MySwimPro app. Be sure to share your workout using the hashtag #WorldSwimDay on social media to be entered to win awesome prizes from sponsors.

REGISTER NOW for 2019 World Swim Day >

World Swim Day is supported by MySwimPro, the largest digital community of swimmers in the world. The international event is also supported by globally-minded companies with shared values that include empowering a healthy lifestyle through swimming and promoting water safety. We hope World Swim Day continues to inspire and empower people around the world to be active in the water.

World Swim Day Prizes

This contest is sponsored by MySwimPro, Inc. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Participants must be 18 years or older to enter. Participants can enter to win between the dates of October 25 – October 27, 2019. Winners will be selected from participants who registered online at worldswimday.org, and shared their swim workout on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter by tagging @myswimpro and using #WorldSwimDay between 10/25/19-10/27/19 11:59pm during the participants local time. Winners will be contacted Monday October 30, 2019.

Learn more at www.worldswimday.org