Winter comes and goes with flurries of snow, ice, and cold water each year– three things nobody should ever take lightly. Whether you plan to be near the water or not, cold water can be dangerous, especially if you are unprepared.
Winter activities like ice skating, ice-fishing, and boating are fun, but to keep them enjoyable, your safety should always be your number one priority. Knowing what can happen if you fall into cold water and what to do in those first few seconds could save you or your loved one’s life.
Why Cold Water Can Be Dangerous
When you go outside on a warmer-than-usual winter day, you might not think the water will be as cold, but air temperatures can be deceiving.
Any water temperature below 70°F should be treated cautiously, and cold shock can begin at temperatures between 50-60°F.
Cold water can cause the body to lose four times more heat than cold air. Therefore, when someone hits cold water, their body begins to go into “cold shock,” causing dramatic changes like involuntary gasps, rapid breathing, a heart rate and blood pressure spike, and reduced mental capabilities.
Cold shock comes in three main phases:
Cold water immersion can trigger the “gasp factor,” making breathing difficult. Water can fill the lungs if your head gets submerged when the “gasp factor” happens.
Loss of muscular control and overall body weakness in the limbs, hands, and feet can be felt within seconds. The longer in cold water, the more severe the symptoms become. When the body becomes weak, it is harder to stay floating without assistance.
Hypothermia is the extreme lowering of core body temperature and can be dangerous if not treated. For example, having your core body temperature drop below 95°F may result in unconsciousness and death.
Depending on the temperatures of the water, minimizing the time you are in the water is essential. Therefore, if you are going to be on/near cold water or ice, it is always best to be adequately prepared if you or a loved one falls in.
Cold Water Safety Tips:
Whenever you go on a winter outing, always prepare as if you are going to fall into cold water.
The following cold water safety tips will help you keep you and your loved ones safe around cold water this winter:
4 Essential Cold Water Safety Tips:
Check the weather and water conditions before you go out. You will want to dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. Some examples include:
Bring a communication device like a cell phone, position-indicating radio Beacon (EPIRB), personal locator beacon (PLB), or a VHF radio.
Communicate your location, supplies, and plans with someone you trust on land.
If You Fall Into Cold Water Safety Tips:
Hold your hands over your mouth to prevent gasping in cold water.
Try to stay calm and control your breathing.
Assess your surroundings and devise a plan to get to safety.
Minimize your time in the water by doing 10 minutes of meaningful movement to safety.
If you can’t find a place to swim to get to safety, use the H.E.L.P position, or if you are with a group, the Huddle Position until help can arrive.
After Rescue Cold Water Safety Tips:
After a person is rescued from cold water, their body temperature will continue to drop. Seconds count even after getting someone out of cold water. Here are some helpful steps to take after a cold rescue:
Call 911 immediately.
Get to a warm place and begin actively trying to warm up as you monitor breathing and blood circulation.
Remove any wet clothing and wrap them or yourself in blankets or new dry clothing.
The core should be warmed first, then other limbs like hands and feet.
Avoid warming up too quickly, and DO NOT go into warm water. Warming up too quickly can cause an irregular heart rate.
Ice Safety Tips
Ice can be tricky and is never 100% safe. Typically, ice only sometimes freezes uniformly in one location, so it’s essential always to have a plan prepared before going on or around the ice.
General Safety Around Ice:
Always check the temperature outside. Air temperatures can often impact the quality of ice. You will always want to dress for the water temperature rather than the air temperature.
Always wear a brightly colored USCG-approved life jacket. Lifejackets will help you stay afloat when the stages of cold shock begin.
Water safety is paramount whether running an aquatic facility, teaching swimming lessons, or competing in aquatic events. Access to the necessary resources is essential to ensure aquatic professionals have the tools to create safer environments.
Aquatic professionals should know the available resources to help them and learn about the latest industry standards.
One of the main tasks of an aquatic professional is to ensure that their facilities and communities are water safe. By utilizing grant programs, these professionals can obtain the necessary funds to provide essential resources to those in their community.
Budgets are constantly being reduced and cuts are continuously made in many public services and recreation areas nowadays. This is why grants are a reliable source of funding for many organizations. Securing grants helps fill the gap for aquatic professionals that strive to keep communities safer around all bodies of water.
Step Into Swim is a Pool & Hot Tub Alliance initiative committed to creating more swimmers. Every child deserves access to safe swimming education and the ability to feel confident, inspired, and empowered in the water. Step Into Swim is making waves in the name of drowning prevention and is a go-to resource for water safety.
To date, the Step into Swim program has provided 273,000 swim lessons. Click here to apply.
USA Swimming Learn to Swim Grants
USA Swimming has awarded grants since 2007 to help fund youth learn-to-swim programs. It has done so nationwide via its network of more than 1,600 verified swim lesson providers. In 2022, the USA Swimming awarded $932,000 to youth ($802,000) and adult ($130,000) swim lesson providers. Grants for programs focusing on adult learn-to-swim efforts were awarded for the first time in 2022. This was thanks to a partnership with U.S. Masters Swimming.
Youth Learn To Swim Grants
USA Swimming Youth Learn to Swim Grants are intended to expand existing learn-to-swim programs. It also seeks to support opportunities for children who otherwise would not participate in swimming lessons. This program helps children to acquire the life-saving skill of swimming. The swim lesson program can use the award to offer free or reduced-cost swimming lessons. It can also support transportation costs to/from the swim lesson location(s).
The application window for Youth Learn to Swim Grants runs from mid-October to mid-December. The selected awards are announced in the early spring of the subsequent year. Interested applicants MUST be an approved provider within the Swim Lesson Provider Network prior to December 1. Find more details here.
Adult Learn To Swim Grants
The Adult Learn to Swim Grant Application is open to all swim instructors, facilities, and programs that want to help make more adults safer around water, with a goal to reduce adult drowning risk through education, financial support, and community outreach. The program hopes that once adults learn to swim or improve their swimming skills, they will have the confidence and desire to continue swimming in a Masters Swimming program and experience the lifelong benefits of swimming. Want to apply? Click here.
In accordance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, the CPSC accepts applications for the Pool Safely Grant Program (PSGP). This program provides state and local governments with assistance to help implement enforcement and education programs, with the goal of preventing drownings and drain entrapments in pools & spas.
CPSC awards up to a total of $2 million in two-year grants to assist jurisdictions in reducing deaths and injuries from drowning and drain entrapment incidents in pools and spas. Learn more about this program here.
The Association of Aquatic Professionals has a swim lesson and lifejacket grant program to help aid aquatic facilities in their drowning prevention efforts. The AOAP drowning prevention grant offers funding opportunities for organizations to provide education and awareness of life jacket safety.
The AOAP allocates a minimum of $5,000 for the life jacket and $5,000 for the swim lesson grant program. An annual goal is to provide 100 free lessons to underprivileged participants. It also aims to purchase 500 life jackets annually for organizations to use in their water safety efforts. AOAP members can apply for either the Swim Lesson Grant or the Life Jacket Grant, or both at the same time.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety Water Safety and Swim Lessons Grant
The Missouri Department of Public Safety announced last week the availability of a total of $300,000 in grant funding to provide water safety and swimming lessons to underserved populations.
Eligible grant expenses include personnel costs, including benefits and overtime; training- and travel-related expenses; equipment; and supplies. The projected period for the expenditure of grant funds is from Feb. 1 to May 30, 2023. Applications will be accepted only through the Missouri Department of Public Safety online WebGrants system.
The Benjamin Hair Foundation solicits grants on a rolling basis from organizations that further the mission of the BH-JSL. These grants will primarily be given to groups that hold learn-to-swim programs for “at-risk” youth. School programs, after-school programs, church groups, and others are invited to apply. Other proposals may be considered if they further the mission of the foundation. Click for more information.
The Live Like Jake Foundation’s main mission is to promote childhood drowning awareness and water safety. In order to accomplish this, they encourage Infant Swim Resource (ISR) Self-Rescue® technique swim lessons. They try to help minimize the costs of the lessons for those in financial need by granting scholarships nationwide. Please note that these scholarships are limited to families that truly can’t afford them. Click to apply.
The Judah Brown Project was created to honor Judah Brown, who passed away as the result of a tragic drowning accident. Their mission is to provide funding for infant survival swim instruction and other lifesaving education to families of children ages 6 months – 6 years to help prevent children from drowning. In order to accomplish this, they try to help minimize the costs of the lessons for those in financial need by granting scholarships. Click for more details.
Legislation, Standards, and Codes Resources
For aquatic professionals, the safety of their patrons and staff is paramount. Knowing the legislation and codes pertaining to water safety is essential to ensure a safe environment for everyone. Aquatic professionals must stay up-to-date on changing rules, regulations, and standards to remain compliant with applicable laws.
Resources such as government websites or professional organizations provide valuable information on laws related to water safety. For example, the American Red Cross offers multiple certifications for two years. This ensures that aquatics professionals know about water safety guidelines and practices. Additionally, online training opportunities provide an interactive way for aquatics professionals to stay informed about relevant topics in this field.
Understanding the legal requirements associated with water safety can help aquatic professionals create a safe environment at their pool or facility. It also allows them to protect themselves from potential liabilities. Here are some to get you started:
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is a federal law that establishes design requirements for public and semi-public pools. These are specific requirements for drain covers (grates), drain configurations and anti-entrapment systems in public and semi-public swimming pools and spas. The Act is intended to reduce injuries and deaths associated with suction entrapment hazards in pools and spas.
The Act took effect December 19, 2008. This means that all public and semi-public pools and spas must now be in compliance with the law. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act can be found here.
The Every Child a Swimmer legislation was introduced in March 2021. House Bill 1119 would require school districts to ask the parent of every kindergartner and any child newly entering a school whether or not that child has been taught to swim.
Now, the parents of every child enrolled in school in Florida will be given either electronic or paper access educating them on the importance of teaching their children how to swim and where to find local swimming lessons. Find more details here.
California’s original 1996 Pool Safety Act required all new private swimming pools to be equipped with at least one approved safety measure; a permanent fence, compliant pool cover, door & window alarms, and self-closing door and window devices.
This California pool law was amended in 2006 to include two more pool safety barriers – an ASTM F 2286-05 compliant removable mesh pool fence and an ASTM F 2208-08 pool alarm. The 2018 amendment now requires newly permitted private pools to double up security measures by requiring the pool to be equipped with 2 out of 7 choices of compliant separate safety features. On January 1, 2018 the Pool Safety Act became law. Find out more about it here.
Swimming Pool Safety Act
The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act in Florida (Chapter 515, Florida Statutes) requires pool safety measures for pools built after October 1, 2000. The Legislature intends that all new residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs be equipped with at least one pool safety feature.
The International Swimming Pool & Spa Code® contains everything a pool contractor needs to make a pool safe so it can operate efficiently. It sets the minimum standard for pool and spa safety by substantially reducing the risk of child drowning through introducing or enhancing requirements for residential pools and spas. The adoption of the ISPSC can reduce drowning accidents by requiring barriers, compliant design, and slopes for entry and exit, working towards eliminating entrapment incidents once and for all, and ensuring that pools and spas are built using approved and safe materials.
In states with no children’s life jacket law in place, a U.S. Coast Guard interim rule is applied. The rule requires children under 13 on moving boats to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket that fits.
Even though some laws provide boaters with the minimum age for a child to wear a life jacket, a parent must decide if a child should wear one, even when the law does not require one.
Aquatics professionals have a duty to protect the safety of those in their care. Knowing the available resources is essential for providing a safe environment for every aquatic activity.
Water safety experts recommend utilizing various resources from multiple sources to ensure the best possible water safety measures are taken. Aquatic professionals should stay up-to-date on the latest research and regulations concerning water activities and take advantage of the information available online, in professional journals, and books about aquatics activities and water safety.
Additionally, aquatic professionals should attend classes offered by certified instructors or organizations to stay abreast of current best practices and new techniques related to programming, education, and emergency preparedness.
The NDPA Resource Center strives to improve access to relevant information by collecting, categorizing and organizing materials that are useful to all members of the aquatics industry and drowning prevention advocates.
This tool contains the following features:
NDPA Partner Directory
Drowning Prevention & Water Safety Resource Directory
Sharable Drowning Prevention Social Media Content
Resources for Task Forces & Coalitions
An Index of Drowning Prevention & Water Safety Literature containing over 300 entries
An Index of over 60 Regional, State, and National Water Safety, Drowning, and Injury Databases
NDPA & National Water Safety Conference Media Library
One of the main goals of the Association of Aquatic Professionals is to provide drowning prevention education to aquatic professionals, operators of swimming pools and facilities as well as the general public. To accomplish this goal, the association will offer opportunities for the general public to attend drowning prevention education sessions and attend a specified time period during our annual trade show at no cost to meet with both professionals and vendors in the field of aquatics.
Find more educational resources and materials here.
Pool Safely’s educational materials make it simple to share information about water safety that could save a life. The variety of items and materials they offer can be distributed at public pools and spas so they can be shared with friends and neighbors. Have a look at their educational materials catalog here.
PHTA and GENESIS education programs are designed to provide you with timely, relevant, and engaging expert advice and information on the industry and management issues you encounter daily. They offer a variety of delivery methods, from physical schools to on-demand training. They also have an ongoing Webinar Series and an Education Partner Program.
You can choose from 10 subject categories to find the courses most relevant to your needs here.
The NDPA’s annual flagship event has a long and storied history. Starting out as a small symposium in 2001, the National Water Safety Conference boasts four days of education, training, and networking in addition to a robust lineup of speakers.
This annual event is the gathering place of multiple different sectors, stakeholders, and advocates, all of who believe “Drowning IS Preventable”.
In 2023 and 2024, the National Water Safety Conference will be co-hosted with The Association of Aquatic Professionals (AOAP). The annual Association of Aquatic Professionals Conference & Expo and the National Water Safety Conference presented by the NDPA will operate side-by-side at the same location beginning in February of 2023. The first event will take place at The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, February 13-16, 2023.
The U.S. National Water Safety Action Plan is in the process of being developed by the water safety and drowning prevention community. The planning process pulls knowledge and experience from key stakeholders across the U.S. to create a comprehensive, evidence-based, realistic, and excitable plan.
The Steering Committee for the National Water Safety Action Plan comprises a passionate group of stakeholders and influencers from organizations with water safety and drowning prevention as part of their mission. The Steering Committee is charged with providing strategic oversight and guidance in developing the action plan, including supporting the activities of the working groups.
https://ndpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/NDPA-Blog-Posts-6.png415738Guillermina Ramirezhttps://ndpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/NDPA_Logo_RGB_ForWeb.pngGuillermina Ramirez2023-01-27 10:51:522023-03-21 14:19:11Resources Every Water Safety Professional Needs To Know
During the cold winter months, you may not think about going in the water much, but that doesn’t mean your water safety efforts and education should stop.
Drowning is a public health crisis and an economic problem that will not change unless more water safety policies and legislation are put into effect throughout our communities. Through the 2020 CDC WISWARS Cost of Injury Module, drownings (both fatal and nonfatal) cost the U.S. Economy $53.53 billion per year.
We are Not Powerless When Addressing the Tragedies of Drowning
Advocating for more water safety legislation and drowning prevention efforts in our local and state governments is essential to help change the number of drownings across the U.S.
Drowning has a startling ripple effect, which can have a lifetime effect on the victim’s family, friends, and community members. However, many people may not publicly advocate for water safety legislation because they might not know where to start.
To make things easier for those who want to advocate for water safety action and those interested in improving how their community prevents drowning incidents and other aquatic injuries, here are some tips that can be used as a guide.
1. Look at Your Local and State Level Water Safety Legislation Laws Before approaching community members with water safety legislation, educating yourself is critical. Become familiar with the water safety issues around you and learn more about water safety education by implementing the 5 Layers of Protection.
Educating yourself and those around you about water safety is a lifelong endeavor, so stay up to date with the latest research and evidence-based drowning prevention strategies through your state’s water safety legislation.
All states have different laws, codes, and regulations around public health and information on pools, hot tubs, and splash pads, so use the following resources below to read about local and state-level water safety legislation initiatives that are currently in effect:
2. How to Advocate for Water Safety Legislation to Policy Makers
By learning about the latest laws, codes, and regulations, you will be able to become more active in your community to make a difference. Working your way up is a great way to start advocating for water safety legislation efforts.
Attending local government meetings to discuss community issues like fencing ordinances to provide barriers for homes with pools and spas or recommending pool and spa covers to homeowners with water features can help reduce aquatic-related incidents. Always advocate for all five layers of protection, as one water safety strategy may not be enough to save a life.
When you create lasting relationships with your local officials by regularly participating in community meetings, you provide the necessary information to make positive changes for your community, city, and even state.
Without the support of engaged and dedicated water safety advocates, reducing the number of drownings wouldn’t be possible. Without those to share and advocate for water safety, U.S. Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) wouldn’t have been able to become a Water Safety Champion and rally to support the reauthorization of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act).
Other ways you can help advocate for water safety include:
3. Empower Your Community to Help Prevent Drowning with Water Safety Legislation
When it comes to the health and safety of children, empowering your community to rally against drowning and aquatic injuries is as simple as ‘gimmie 5’:
Installing barriers & alarms to help prevent children and unauthorized adults from accessing water unsupervised.
Close, constant, and capable supervision anytime children are in or around water.
Learning water competency and basic swim skills.
Wear life jackets appropriately, especially around open water.
Learning emergency preparation skills like CPR and fast action to call 911.
Each of these 5 Layers must work together, so teaching members of your community significantly impacts those around you. Make access to water safety education simple and easy to access. Follow the NDPA’s social feeds for social media posts to share or access your Resource Kit after becoming a Water Safety Champion. Always be open to sharing resources to spread drowning prevention awareness to your friends, family, and community.
It Takes a Village to Advocate for Water Safety Legislation
With water safety legislation, we can make a difference in drowning prevention, but it takes more than one person to create change for the greater good. Drowning prevention is more than educating parents about water safety.
By becoming more aware of the dangers water can present to our communities and utilizing the best water safety strategies, we can make a difference in preventing future drowning and aquatic injuries.
To join the fight for more water safety legislation for drowning prevention in our communities, visit NDPA.org/support-ndpa/.
https://ndpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/water-safety-legislation-ndpa.png415738Morgan Hoefthttps://ndpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/NDPA_Logo_RGB_ForWeb.pngMorgan Hoeft2023-01-25 10:30:002023-02-22 13:30:38How You Can Influence Stakeholders for Water Safety Legislation to Prevent Drownings
Why is having access to water safety educational resources so important?
Because teaching kids, teens and even adults how to be safe near and in the water as well as what to do if anything ever goes wrong is paramount to prevent unintentional drowning incidents, both fatal and non-fatal.
The following water safety educational resources have been designed to offer proper guidance in the matter and can be added to any school or homeschool curriculum.
Stop Drowning Now
Stop Drowning Now’s Water Safety Curriculum teaches kids how to recognize drowning risks and to protect themselves and others. The Curriculum is specifically designed for young kids’ learning needs. Through an experiential approach, kids participate in the discovery and identification process, and learn preventative measures as well as emergency responses.
Water Safety In The Classroom
Water Safety in the Classroom is designed to help educators to teach water safety to children ages 2-14. All the methods discussed in this course are appropriate for teaching in a classroom setting, no pool or access to water is required.
Water Safety With Colin & Friends
Water Safety With Colin & Friends is a comprehensive water safety education tool. The classroom-based curriculum focuses on 5 key rules that can help children make safer choices around all types of water, such as waiting for an adult before going in or near water and wearing a life jacket. The full kit includes activities like songs, water safety games, and even a science experiment. The program is evidence-based, continues to be evaluated for efficacy, and has been proven with statistical significance to increase children’s water safety knowledge!
Colin’s Hope has also launched a new website that offers FREE water safety education lessons in English and Spanish to parents, caregivers, teachers, swim instructors, camp counselors and children. Curriculum resources can be downloaded and taught or users can watch videos online and use the interactive and digital curriculum and let the Colin’s Hope team teach each lesson. Two lessons have been launched so far, with new lessons launching each month.
Kidshealth In The Classroom
KidsHealth in the Classroom by Nemours offers educators free health-related lesson plans for PreK through 12th grade. Each Teacher’s Guide includes discussion questions, classroom activities and extensions, printable handouts, and quizzes and answer keys all aligned to National Health Education Standards.
For water safety educational resources search under Personal Health.
Josh The Otter Water Safety & Awareness Project
Drowning is preventable. Teach this life-saving message.
Demonstrate the importance of water safety with Josh the Baby Otter. This guide will help you educate young children about drowning prevention through a fun and interactive classroom activity.
Pool Safely Educational Materials
Pool Safely’s Educational Materials make it simple to share information about water safety that could save a life. Distribute the variety of items at public pools and spas and share them with friends and neighbors.
Water Smart Education Toolkit
Curriculum materials to teach Water Safety have been developed by Royal Life Saving Australia together with education resource specialists, teachers and water safety instructors.
The teaching resources in the Water Smart education toolkit outline appropriate learning outcomes and have taken into consideration the new Australian National Curriculum for all years from Foundation to Year 10. The key components of the resource toolkit include Units of Work, Teachers Notes, Activity Sheets, Safety Tips and Supplementary Resources.
Curriculum Swimming and Water Safety Resource Pack
Swim England and the Swim Group have created a resource pack for all those involved in the delivery of curriculum swimming and water safety.
The resource pack has been split into four to provide dedicated information for each group. Each section provides practical guidance on how to plan, deliver and report on curriculum swimming and water safety.
Water Safety Resources
Teachers Pay Teachers is a great database for educators to find the resources, knowledge, and inspiration they need to teach at their best. They offer more than 3 million free and paid resources, created by educators who understand what works in the classroom and have a great selection of water safety materials that can be used in the classroom for kids from PreK to 12th grade.
Water Safety for Kids
The American Red Cross offers resources to help your child learn about water safety while having fun in and around water.
The fact that swimming schools have closed until further notice is no reason to bring your children’s water safety education to a halt. If you are like most parents that are now homeschooling their kids, take the opportunity to add water safety and drowning prevention to your daily activities with these fun, free and educational resources.
The school also offers some great tips on ways your kids can keep honing their swimming skills even though pools are closed. Check them out here.
Get The Party Started!
CPR Party™ offers fun, age appropriate and entertaining printable resources on their site which were designed to help teach your kids first aid and equip them with the life saving skill of CPR. You can add them to your homeschooling schedule or even host your own CPR Party™ at home with the entire family!
The RNLI, in their quest for ways to engage, educate and entertain kids at home about water safety, are hosting live, interactive video sessions for primary school age children on their Facebook Page. Sessions are streamed on Wednesdays at 10:15am.
The Josh the Otter Program also offers free resources and activities that kids can do at home to further their water safety education and instill in them Josh’s key message: To stay away from water unless accompanied by an adult.
Begin their easy to follow Water Safety 101 course by reading Josh The Baby Otter then take the easy Water Safety Quiz and wrap up the lesson with fun coloring pages, word finds and even make a Josh The Otter puppet!
Created by WS365, the North Richland Hills Water Safety Program, this lively coloring book teaches your kids some very important water safety lessons like never swim without an adult, stay away from drains and learn to swim.
Colin’s Hope is bringing fun and interactive learning experiences to the entire family! Gather children of all ages (even teens!) and learn about water safety in new ways.
Drowning won’t stop, so neither will we and neither should you! Your support will allow us to continue educating and advocating water safety to prevent child drownings.
https://ndpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/NDPA-Blog-Posts-17.png415738Adam Katchmarchihttps://ndpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/NDPA_Logo_RGB_ForWeb.pngAdam Katchmarchi2020-04-13 09:34:002023-04-07 15:46:30Learning Water Safety At Home – Free Resources
The mission of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance is: “Elevating Awareness To Educate, Advocate, Innovate, And Equip To Prevent Drownings.” We believe that as a united alliance we can save lives by preventing the tragedy of drowning. Join us to help save lives!
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