Tag Archive for: water safety

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

1. Never Leave Them Unattended

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Check Water Temperature

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Use Non-slip Mats or Stickers

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

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

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

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

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

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

bath safety tips

4. Store Bath Products Safely

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

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

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

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

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

Happy splashing!

When we send our children to school or summer camp, we rest assured that they will be kept safe from potential harm. After all, our educational institutions diligently teach our little ones about fire safety, regularly conduct lockdown drills, and have protocols for various emergencies. But there’s a glaring gap in this protective shield: water safety, which remains the number one killer of children ages 1-4.

Our latest Water Safety Champion, Kori Delapeña, is a fierce advocate for water safety education in childcare facilities. After tragedy struck her home, rather than being consumed by grief, she channeled her pain into purpose, embarking on a mission to ensure no other parent would have to endure such a loss.

While many safety measures have been embedded into our schooling systems, the silence around water safety is deafening. But with a Water Safety Champion of the month like Kori leading the charge, there’s hope that this oversight will soon be a thing of the past.

A Moment That Defined A Lifetime

Kori’s world was shattered when her six-year-old daughter, Cati,  tragically drowned under the care of a summer camp. Cati had been born with Down syndrome, and so, her parents took many precautions, including those around water. 

Aware of the challenges posed by their daughter’s diagnosis, they prioritized physical and occupational therapies needed for daily functions over swimming. Kori acknowledged that while they maintained general water safety norms, such as ensuring life jackets at the beach or pools, the intricacies of water safety were something they were largely unaware of. Kori lamented that vital water safety information was conspicuously absent from pediatricians and daycare providers, stating, “I wish somebody would have put fear in me.”

With Cati’s unique needs in mind, Kori extensively researched summer camps to ensure her daughter’s safety. After finding High Hopes camp, which had high marking reviews, she communicated Cati’s challenges and was reassured about her safety at the pool. The camp’s reassurances, however, proved hollow, and tragedy struck.

Kori’s story highlights a gap in our system. It begs for more substantial water safety measures for children attending pool activities under the care of a licensed childcare organization such as camps or schools. She also recommends parents always conduct thorough checks of any institution’s licensing and history through the state’s licensing websites as a proactive measure for protecting their child’s wellbeing.

Live Like Cati

In the face of unimaginable loss, Kori and her husband, John, founded Live Like Cati. Armed with grief and passion, the two set out to ensure that no parent in the state of Texas ever suffers loss as they did.

Live Like Cati has spearheaded efforts to teach water safety across Texas summer camps, provide life jackets for free, and train camp staff comprehensively. A whopping 1800 hours of training and over 1600 life jackets delivered attests to their dedication and desire to see safety at the forefront.

Educate, Advocate, Legislate

With a glaring void in water safety training within childcare facilities, Kori was propelled into the legislative arena, realizing the weight of her mission after a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator named Angel advised her on this course. She discovered that drowning is the number one cause of death for children under 5 in the nation, and yet there was absolutely no training or language about drowning prevention in the child administration code. She found this alarming as childcare ratios are high, and when it involves water activities, the risk factor heightens. 

They’ve collaborated with the likes of Colin’s Hope and the Health and Human Services Department, and come September 1st, Texas will see the introduction of HB59– Cati’s Law. The law mandates childcare organizations to verify swimming capabilities and ensure non-swimmers wear USCG life jackets before entering the gates of a pool.

“It wasn’t just about Cati. It was about every child and parent,” 

Kori reflects, underscoring her drive to protect all children. Through legislative efforts, Kori hopes to establish systems that will incentivize childcare providers to prioritize water safety. Research supports her approach, showing that financial penalties or legal consequences can drive behavioral change.

Thank You For Making A Difference In Water Safety!

Kori’s journey from grieving mother to Water Safety Champion is a testament to her resilience and determination. Partnering with many drowning prevention organizations and getting the backing of Texas legislators, she’s been able to bring about tangible changes that will protect children and ease the minds of parents and caregivers. 

Her advocacy serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of water safety education and the critical role each one of us plays in preventing such tragedies through legislation.

Thank you for being a Water Safety Champion!

If you are making a difference in water safety and drowning prevention or know someone who has, we want to hear your story. 

Please take a moment to share the story on our website for a chance to be nationally recognized as a Water Safety Champion.

New staff alert! We are honored to have Emily Wujcik join our NDPA as the Operations Director. Emily has been involved with water safety since she first became a Lifeguard at her local YMCA over 15 years ago. Since then, Emily has continued to work in the world of aquatics by becoming a swimming instructor, a swim coach, and has run multiple aquatic facilities.

Emily has always enjoyed being in the water, as she grew up being on the swim team starting in 3rd grade, and started playing water polo in middle school. Her love for the water followed her to Slippery Rock University (SRU). 

In 2015, Emily was a scholarship recipient for the NDPA annual educational conference. Since learning how important water safety education is to every person on this planet, she has been working with NDPA to help spread awareness. Emily graduated from SRU with a B.S. in Early Childhood and Special Education with a minor in Aquatics. While at SRU, she was a Swim Coach for the local swim team – the Slippery Rock Eels Swim Team from 2013-2016.

From there, Emily became the Graduate Assistant for Dr. Adam Katchmarchi while attending graduate school. She helped to put on the annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that year. She went on to earn her M.S. in Sports Management from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. 

Emily Wujcik and Dr. Adam Katchmarchi at IUP Graduation 2017

Emily then became the Aquatics and Safety Coordinator for Saint Louis University (SLU) for almost 5 years. While there, she managed a team of 45 students. Her team was made up of Lifeguards, Swimming Instructors, and Lifeguard Instructors. She managed the aquatics facilities which included an indoor 6-lane pool with a diving well, a spa, and 4 outdoor pools. Working with her staff, she ensured that all student and professional staff of 250 persons maintained their CPR, AED, and First Aid certifications from the American Red Cross. 

Water safety has always been important to Emily. She continued to attend the NDPA conference and met Kimball McMullin. He and his wife, Lisa, tragically lost their son, Nicholas to a backyard drowning in 1982. In 2019, Nicholas’s parents founded the SWIM ON Foundation (Safer Waters In Memory Of Nicholas). Emily served as their Vice President from 2019 to June 2023. During her time with SWIM ON, she gave multiple presentations about how to be SAFER around the water. She met with local Girl Scout Troops, worked alongside the U.S. Army Corps. Of Engineers, and SafeKids St. Louis to spread awareness and education. 

After her time at SLU, she became the Assistant Director of Aquatics for the University of Dayton (UD). There, with her team of students, they were responsible for the maintenance of their indoor 8-lane pool with a vortex, diving well, and spa. She worked closely with her other instructors to ensure that all student and professional staff were prepared to handle any emergency in their 125,470 sq. ft. facility. Emily continued to share the message of how to be safer around the water with UD students. Working with a small group of UD students, they co-created the Diving In Program. This program was for other students to learn about ways they can be safer around the water. 

Now, Emily has come back to working for NDPA as our Operations Director. We are glad to have her fully onboard! 

How to Introduce a Water Safety Curriculum to Your School Board

Water safety curriculum and education are crucial in safeguarding children from water-related accidents. Tragic statistics highlight the need for comprehensive water safety programs in schools. Typically, schools have yearly visits from police officers and firefighters to emphasize safety rules surrounding fire, crossing the street, stranger danger, active shooters, etc. Our goal is to guide schools in including water safety in their yearly safety programs and provide the resources needed to impact the decision-makers to consider its importance, too. 

With zero drownings as our goal, we’ve created a Teacher Water Safety Toolkit to equip educators and schools with tools and resources that are not only fun and engaging but impactful in their delivery of the message of drowning prevention and water safety. 

Your local school board can be assured that each piece of our Water Safety Curriculum is backed by data and supported by experts in the field of water safety and education.

Forming a Water Safety Task Force/Coalition

A Water Safety Task Force or Coalition is a pivotal step in implementing a school-wide water safety curriculum. The task force ensures a well-rounded approach to water safety education by involving school staff, parents, and community members. Each stakeholder group can contribute unique perspectives and expertise, fostering a collective effort towards creating a safer environment for students, ensuring that the curriculum is based on evidence-based practices and industry standards, and enhancing its overall effectiveness.

Encouraging community partnerships is a powerful way to strengthen water safety initiatives. By engaging with local organizations, such as community centers, swim programs, and nonprofit water safety organizations, schools can access additional resources, funding opportunities, and outreach support. These partnerships create a network of support that extends beyond the school, reinforcing the importance of water safety throughout the community.

Highlighting the Need for Water Safety Curriculum

Learning to swim and acquiring basic water survival skills are vital for every child. Drowning prevention strategies can save lives, and schools can play a significant role in instilling these skills. Integrating water safety into the school curriculum can equip students with the knowledge and skills to stay safe in and around water, ultimately preventing tragic accidents and drowning incidents.

Not only that, a water safety curriculum aligns with the core values of our educational system. It promotes students’ physical well-being and instills a sense of responsibility, care, and community engagement. By fostering a culture of safety and preparedness, we nurture responsible and confident young individuals who can thrive inside and outside the classroom.

Schools and school districts can utilize our Teacher Water Safety Toolkit to host water safety awareness weeks or workshops, further emphasizing its importance and ensuring that every student, regardless of their classroom or grade, gets the crucial information they need.

Presenting the Water Safety Curriculum Proposal to the School Board

When presenting the water safety curriculum proposal to the school board, it is crucial to highlight how the curriculum aligns with the overall goals and objectives of the school district. Emphasizing this alignment will demonstrate that the water safety program is not just an isolated initiative but an integral part of the district’s broader vision for student well-being.

Make a note for your board that overcoming budgetary constraints and resource limitations may require creative solutions. However, investing in water safety education promises long-term benefits for students’ safety. Establish a straightforward curriculum rollout and evaluation timeline and train facilitators to deliver water safety lessons effectively, even outside the water. Presenting a completed stack of content, cost, impact, and a rollout timeline will help combat any objections or concerns that may be had. 

The benefit of our Teacher Water Safety Toolkit is that it is a turnkey reusable resource that any educator can implement without the water. The toolkit includes engaging lessons, interactive activities, book recommendations, parent handouts, and an advocacy letter for educators to sign and present to their administrators or school board for pre-approval as well. 

Advocating for a water safety curriculum in schools can be an intimidating task. By approaching it with urgency and passion, you convey the critical importance of this initiative. Above all, you must express an unwavering commitment to seeing it through. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of death in children ages 1-14. You can change these numbers by showing the school board and your administration that you are willing to put in the necessary time and effort to make water safety education a reality in your schools and communities!

While back to school means that summer is coming to an end, you can still have a great time at your local aquatics facility! A fun back to school event can bring your community together. Keeping in mind how to keep everyone safe, you can check on the latest information on water safety before you start your planning. We have 5 tips for you to have a fun and safer time at your aquatics facility. 

1. Plan themed activities

Having a theme can keep a cohesive theme throughout your event. You have a back to school theme already, and now it is time to add some activities. Pick activities for varying levels of engagement and abilities. Having this variety allows everyone to be able to participate. Back to school can even your theme!

Ideas like back to school bingo with pictures of items instead of numbers is great for most families. You can also do a scavenger hunt for various school supplies if space and the facility allows. 

Activities can include safety aspects too. You can plan activities that can teach adults and caregivers CPR. This is important for parents and caregivers to know. There are a lot of different songs that they can practice CPR to. Baby shark and Dancing Queen by ABBA are two popular options! Learning about emergency preparedness for a drowning event is good information for all to know. 

2. Incorporate Water Safety initiatives into your event

Water safety is always important even when there are Lifeguards. We have 5 layers of protection to help keep you and your guests safer. You can always bring those layers into your event. You can incorporate the supervision piece by ensuring you have at least one dedicated water watcher at all times during the event. Having a water watcher is important even if there are Lifeguards. 

Water safety also includes learning how to swim. Check if the facility offers swimming lessons year-around. It is always a good time of the year to practice your swimming skills – for children and adults!

3. Offer school supply/school related prizes

Back to school means a restalk of those school supplies. Offering prizes for some games can give a higher incentive to play! Potential prizes could include items like new binders, notepads, pens or pencils. They could also be bigger items such as a backpack, lunch box, or even a bike helmet. Whether small or large, you can count on participation for prizes! 

Not everyone will want to participate, so you can even host a silent auction during your event. This will help keep people entertained during your whole event. Some of these items can be for children or adults. This allows you to vary your options greatly. 

4. Promote Family Friendly activities

Family friendly activities can bring in the whole family to enjoy the fun! The facility may have a basketball hoop you can use. They may also have a net to play water volleyball. Both of these games can be played with people of all ages and you can use different size balls for both! Water volleyball can even be played with a giant beach ball for even more fun. 

Creating activities that everyone can participate in ensures that you are keeping varying abilities in mind. You can have activities that do not involve being in the water too. Activities like minute-to-win-it games. There are so many options to incorporate into your event.  

5. Partner with local businesses to offer promotions or be vendors at your event

Bringing in local businesses near you can help support your event in a multitude of ways. They can help sponsor some prizes, or even help sponsor food and drinks. This can help engage further within your community. 

Building relationships with different local businesses can make your event even more community friendly. This also can lead to those relationships being stronger. They may want to come back and support your event again next year too! 

Using these tips can help you have a fun and safer event! Looking for more tips? Check out our pool party safety tips for summer

“CANNONBALL!” a friend says as they jump into the pool! The pool, lake, pond, or ocean can be a great place to cool down from the summer heat. If you or someone you know has not yet learned how to swim as an adult, they may be hesitant to get in. While it can feel like a leap of faith to start, you are never too old to learn how to swim!

Why it is Important

While swimming is not an instinctual skill for humans, there is never a wrong time or age to learn! USA Swimming shares that when parents have no/low swimming skills, their children are unlikely to have proficient swimming skills. 

This affects 64% of African American children, 45% of Hispanic/Latinx children, and 40% of Caucasian children. Learning to swim as an adult will show your children that you are never to learn a new skill! 

We all have different reasons for wanting to learn how to swim at any age. All reasons are valid, and for some, the reason may be overcoming their fear of water. We encourage you to search in your area for facilities and instructors that work with fearful adults. 

It is also important to share with your instructor your reasoning for wanting to learn. If you have some fears, we encourage you to share those too. 

How to Get Started

Where to begin, you ask? Well, you can follow a similar path when looking for a swimming program for your child. There are many groups and organizations that offer adult-only swimming lessons. 

There are often instructors that work specifically and only with adults to help you get comfortable in the water and to build up your skills. You can find NDPA resources to adapt for yourself by using our Swim Lesson Decision Chart and Checklist to help find the best type of swimming lessons to fit your needs.

Finding your Best Fit

Swimming programs often offer one on one instruction or small-group instruction. Both are valuable, and you can pick which one is best for you. Starting swimming lessons as an adult can feel like a big task, so know that you can follow some of the tips on the swim program checklist for finding your children’s swimming lessons. 

This can include items like going into the facilities and familiarizing yourself with the layout, and even asking if you can meet the instructor for the first class. Remember, there is a facility and instructor out there for you! 

NDPA Resources

Water competency is one of NDPA’s 5 Layers of Protection that help you, your family, and your community to be safer around water. By learning how to swim as an adult, you are showing your children, family, and community that you are taking water safety seriously.

The water can be a really fun place to go to, and you are taking the first steps (and splashes) to be safer and more prepared being in and around the water. 

Whether you are an adult learning how to swim because you have a vacation coming up, want to be comfortable in the water, or want to show your children that swimming is an important skill to know and learn, you can find the right swimming program for you! 

There is no age limit on learning how to swim, so grab your swimsuit and towel, and get ready to build up your swimming ability. See you in the water soon!

Every year, numerous drowning incidents occur, claiming the lives of both children and adults. However, there is a particular concern when it comes to individuals with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The risks associated with water safety for those with ASD are often overlooked and misunderstood, leading to tragic outcomes.

Our July Water Safety Champion is mother to a person with Autism and a passionate advocate for water safety initiatives for persons with Autism.

We are honored to celebrate our July Water Safety Champion of the Month, Stacey Hoaglund!

Finding the Courage To Be the Voice of a Movement

Stacey’s son was diagnosed with Autism at a young age. Early on, she prioritized water safety and ensured that both of her children received swim lessons. But it wasn’t until 2018, when she and her son were on a trip to Washington, that she came across a news broadcast from Florida about a child with Autism who tragically drowned. 

Stacey admits that for years she expected others in the Autism community to take the lead, but after years of silence, she realized she needed to be the voice. 

Her water safety advocacy journey started by reaching out to a friend who was a lobbyist in her state, who connected her with two women leading movements in South Florida, both who worked for the Department of Health and both who had lost children to drowning. Their lived experiences and determination ignited a sense of purpose within her.

Overcoming Challenges and Misinformation

When she first stepped into the water safety space, Stacey noted that the lack of information and awareness regarding water safety and individuals with Autism was a grave concern.

According to available data, 50 drowning incidents have been recorded in 2023, and of those, 8 individuals had been diagnosed with Autism and wandered away from home. Wandering is a significant risk for those with Autism and can lead to emergency situations, like drowning.

One of the challenges Stacey found on her journey was that pediatricians and teachers lacked information regarding water safety. Parents of children with Autism often find themselves needing guidance on preventive measures or the importance of swim lessons for their children. In some cases, they may prioritize therapies over swim lessons, particularly if their child has communication difficulties. This information gap leaves children with Autism vulnerable to water-related accidents.

Drowning Prevention Strategies and Advocacy Efforts

Autism presents unique challenges, particularly when it comes to generalizing skills. Children may learn to swim in a specific setting, but they may struggle to apply those skills in different environments. The reliance on water wings can also create a false sense of security, as individuals with Autism may mistakenly assume they can float in any body of water.

Stacey notes that many times, swim instructors are trained in teaching neuro-typical children to swim but do not have experience or understanding of children who have Autism or other developmental disabilities. Many families are hesitant to enroll their children with special needs in swim lessons due to the lack of knowledge of teaching techniques. Recognizing this barrier, efforts have been made to provide resources and training to water safety instructors to ensure they are equipped to teach individuals with Autism effectively. The Autism Society of Florida has also sought funding to support swim lessons for individuals with Autism who may not be able to afford swim lessons.

As a resource, the Autism Society of Florida, where Stacey is President, runs a program that trains parents of children with disabilities, including Autism, on how to advocate for systems change. She has also collaborated with organizations and lawmakers to raise awareness and implement effective drowning prevention strategies for parents of children with Autism. Most recently, Senator Anna Maria Rodriguez from Miami has confirmed her legislative support for the drowning prevention of children with Autism in Florida.

Making an Impact on Legislation and Community Outreach

While progress has been made in advocating for water safety, there is still room for improvement. One crucial aspect that requires attention is raising awareness.

Marketing campaigns should be more aggressive, emphasizing the importance of active supervision and vigilance when it comes to water safety. Additionally, school systems play a vital role in disseminating information on drowning prevention, and initiatives like the “Every Child a Swimmer” legislation of 2021 can contribute significantly to reducing drowning incidents.

Engaging the community is crucial to the success of any initiative. Throughout her time as an advocate, Stacey has formed relationships with various stakeholders, including schools, fire chiefs, and organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Surgeon General. These collaborations allow for policy work and the dissemination of information to the broader community. Support groups for parents and families also provide a platform for sharing experiences, concerns, and water safety resources.

More work is needed to bridge the information gap, provide accessible resources, and engage the community to ensure that water safety programs are in place for individuals with Autism. Through collective efforts, we can strive towards a world where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can safely enjoy aquatic activities and prevent tragic accidents.

Thank You For Making A Difference In Water Safety!

Water safety is a pressing issue, especially for individuals with Autism, who face unique challenges and risks. Thank you, Stacey, for the strides you’ve made in reducing drowning incidents among this vulnerable population!

Thank you for being a Water Safety Champion!

If you are making a difference in water safety and drowning prevention or know someone who has, we want to hear your story. 
Please take a moment to share the story on our website for a chance to be nationally recognized as a Water Safety Champion.

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

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

Public Swimming Pools Foster a Sense of Community

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

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

Promote Fitness for Whole Family

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

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

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

Increase Public Safety

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

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

Offer Career and Volunteer Opportunities

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

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

Public Swimming Pools Promote Water Accessibility

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

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

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

International holiday

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

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

Learn the Facts

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

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

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

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

How NDPA is Celebrating World Drowning Prevention Day

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

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

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

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

1. Fence the Pool Area

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

2. Regular Equipment Checks

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

3. Display and Enforce Pool Rules 

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

4. Designate a Water Watcher

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

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

5. Consider a Lifeguard 

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

6. Conduct a Swim Test

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

7. Establish a Designated Swim Area

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

8. CPR & First Aid Training

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

9. Proper Lighting

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

10. Keep it Clean

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

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

11. Alcohol Consumption

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

12. Electrical Safety

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

13. Slip-Resistant Surfaces

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

14. Regular Hydration & Sun Protection

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

15. Pool Safety Education

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

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

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