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Drowning is a leading cause of death for young children. Be aware of the potential risks and prevent unsupervised access to water. This includes in-ground and above ground pools and spas, portable pools, bath tubs, buckets and other bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, ponds and canals.

THE RISK

  • Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for children 1 to 14 years of age and kills more children ages 1 to 4 than anything else except for birth defects. On average, three children die each day from drowning.
  • ​Drowning risks vary by age
    o Children younger than 1 year old are more likely to drown at home. 
    o Children between 1 and 4 years of age are more likely to drown in a home swimming pool or spa. 
    o Those 5 to 17 years old are more likely to drown in natural water, such as a pond or lake. 
  • Lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access is a main factor in many drowning incidents.
  • Pool and spa drownings occur in public and private settings, in backyard in-ground and above-ground pools, kids’ pools, apartment complexes and hotels. 
  • The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says that nearly 70% of young children who drowned in swimming pools were not expected to be in or at the pool.  
  • After pools, bathtubs are the second leading location where young children drown. However, buckets, bath seats, wells, cisterns, septic tanks, decorative ponds, and toilets, are also potential drowning sources for infants and toddlers.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Check for water hazards in your setting, such as an unfenced pool, liquid-filled buckets or an ornamental pond, then take appropriate precautions to prevent unsupervised access. 
  • ​Childproof your home against water hazards from bathtubs, bath seats, toilets and buckets:
    o Place locks on toilet seat covers in case a young child wanders into the bathroom. 
    o Empty unattended buckets containing even a small amount of liquid immediately after use, including buckets outside that can collect rainwater. Toddlers are top heavy and can easily fall headfirst into buckets and drown. After using a bucket, always empty and store it inside or where young children cannot reach it. 
    o Drain all water from portable and inflatable kiddie pools, and flip them over so they cannot collect rainwater.  
  • If you have a pool, spa or ornamental pond at home:
    o Install a fence that is at least 4-feet high, and completely separates the water from the house and yard. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward, with latches that are out of reach of children. See CPSC Safety Barrier Guidelines for Residential Pools for details.
    o In addition to a fence, install additional layers of protection, such as automatic door locks and alarms to prevent access and to alert you if someone exits the home and enters the pool area.
    o Install and use a door or pool alarm, and/or a pool or spa cover if the house serves as part of a pool or spa fence.
    o Make sure that pool or spa covers can support the weight of a child and not allow access to the water.
    o Remove floats, balls and other toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use so children are not tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised.
    o For above-ground pools, the pool structure itself is a barrier, however be sure to prevent young children from climbing up into the pool by securing, locking or removing steps and ladders. 
    o Be aware of pet doors that lead directly to a pool or other backyard body of water. A fence between the house and the pool is a must if there is a cat or dog door.
  • If you have natural water on your property or near your home, such as a pond, river, lake, stream or canal, or if you have a neighbor with an unfenced pool or spa: 
    o Install fencing between the house and the water that prevents children from accessing the water without adult supervision.
    o Check your local building codes for requirements for residential fencing and housing complexes.
  • If you are away from home near bodies of water, such as a river, lake, pond, canal, or ocean shore: 
    o Set expectations and rules for children regarding going in or near the water, and strictly enforce them.
    o Closely and continuously monitor anyone who is unable to recognize the danger that water may pose—especially young children. Children can disappear quickly and are attracted to water. Don’t assume that a fence, sign, or verbal warning will keep children away from the water.
    o Swim only in designated swimming areas supervised by lifeguards or other undistracted water watchers who are capable of performing a water rescue.
    o Make sure that those with sufficient skill and maturity to participate in approved activities, such as swimming, boating, or fishing, are doing so in a safe area with appropriate supervision, such as lifeguards, and appropriate equipment, such as life jackets.  
    o When in, on, or near the water, insist that children and weak or non-swimmers wear properly-fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets that are appropriate for their weight and water activity.
  • Know how to provide proper supervision for children under your care in or near the water:
    o Become water competent and learn to swim.
    o Understand how risks vary with conditions, such as water depth, water clarity and currents, and adjust supervision and activities accordingly. For example, by choosing a safe swimming area or having participants wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 
    o Learn CPR and basic rescue skills.
    o Always designate a water watcher when in or near water. 
       – Practice touch supervision while bathing the very young.
       – In a pool, keep young children within arm’s reach.
       – Avoid distractions, such as phone calls or texts.
       – Don’t leave a young child unattended, or under the care of another child, even for a moment.  
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Media Advisory on Proper Terminology Drowning is not always a fatal event. Some people die as a result of drowning, while others survive with serious, life-long injuries, or none at all. Thus, the term “drowning” should not be used to imply death. According to the World Health Organization: “Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid. Drowning outcomes are classified as death, morbidity and no morbidity. Agreed terminology is essential to describe the problem and to allow effective comparisons of drowning trends. Thus, this definition of drowning adopted by the 2002 World Congress on Drowning should be widely used.” 

About the Authors of this Document: Water Safety USA is a consortium of leading national governmental and nongovernmental organizations with a strong record of providing drowning prevention and water safety programs. Our mission is to empower people with resources, information, and tools to safely enjoy and benefit from our nation’s aquatic environments. Our membership is as follows:

American Academy of Pediatrics
American Red Cross
Boy Scouts of America
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Drowning Prevention Alliance
National Park Service
National Safe Boating Council
Pool and Hot Tub Alliance
Safe Kids Worldwide
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
United States Lifesaving Association
USA Swimming Foundation
YMCA of the USA

WHAT: Water competency means being able to anticipate, avoid, and survive common drowning situations, as well as being able to recognize and provide assistance to those in need. It includes water safety awareness, basic swimming skills, and helping others.

WHYDrowning is a major cause of accidental death. Drowning is a surprisingly fast, often silent injury. A weak or non-swimmer who stumbles and loses footing when unable to touch the bottom, can quickly start to drown. The person who is in trouble cannot move a few feet to safety and is unable to call for help. They may sink out of sight within seconds. Rescue needs to happen quickly so that the person can breathe and survive without brain damage. Fortunately, drowning situations can be avoided with good planning and being prepared.

Good swimmers are generally at less risk of serious mishaps in the water than poor swimmers, but even a good swimmer can drown. Preventing surprise and panic requires learning what to do before getting into the water.  Many drownings involve people who did not plan to enter the water.   Even when they plan to enter the water, many people underestimate the risks and overestimate their ability, or that of their children in water. Those completing entry-level swim lessons, particularly young children, may still not have the basic skills and knowledge for water competency. They still need close and direct supervision. Even those with good swimming skills may not be safe due to other factors, such as unfamiliar waters, water hazards, medical emergencies, alcohol or drug use, or other unsafe conditions.

WATER SMARTS: There is more to drowning prevention than swimming skills. Water safety is knowing about the water and the hazards in it and about having respect for the water. A person can learn to recognize and avoid some common water hazards like rip currents at beaches that carry a swimmer away from shore and underwater dangers like logs or sea life that sting, bite, snag, or trap swimmers.  Water safety is also practicing safe behaviors and stopping unsafe behaviors, like horseplay or diving headfirst into shallow water that can lead to spinal injuries, or consuming alcohol or drugs that can affect judgement, swimming ability, and physical reaction. Water safety includes understanding the layers of protection needed to keep ourselves and our loved ones safer when in, on, and around water. For example, wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket appropriate for their weight and water activity, and putting one on a weak or non-swimmer swimmer, adds a layer of protection. Water competency includes having sufficient knowledge to be responsible for one’s own safety as well as the safety of everyone you are supervising. Parents and caregivers should gain basic water safety knowledge and then set rules, coach their children, and closely supervise those not old enough to recognize and avoid hazards, dangerous situations, and risky behaviors. ​

SWIMMING SKILLS: Essential swimming skills include being able to enter the water and resurface, controlling breathing, floating, turning, and moving to safety in the water and exiting. However, the water environment, the activity, and even what the person is wearing can alter their ability to perform these skills.  Basic swimming skills may be adequate to swim a short time and distance in the deep end of a swimming pool, but greater skill and comfort in the water are needed when swimming in a lake, river, or ocean; in cold or rough water; and in waves or current.  The table below provides swimmers and parents with some reasonable guidelines to assess basic water competency and skills to look for when evaluating a swim lesson and water safety program. These swim skills should be seen as a foundation for gaining more experience and comfort in the water.

​The American Red Cross recommendations for water competency provide a starting point for assessing minimum swim skills for common pool environments. Those are included in the middle column of the table below, including the minimum proficiency to control breathing, float or tread water, turn in the water, and swim 25 yards using any type of stroke. Anyone lacking such basic skill levels should be closely supervised, stay in shallow water, or wear a life jacket, and seek instruction. A person just able to meet the American Red Cross criteria for water competency is still a novice, not a good swimmer and may not yet be ready for instruction or participation in various activities in different water environments beyond pools such as snorkeling, wakeboarding, surfing, or assisting with in-water rescues. Advanced skills are generally best acquired through specialized courses and may not be included in generic learn-to-swim progressions. 

HELPING OTHERS: Everyone should always swim with general supervision such as lifeguards and water watchers.  Children without basic swimming skills should be directly supervised by a water watcher who is within arm’s reach. Knowledgeable, attentive, supervision of all swimmers is important for drowning prevention and response, particularly for toddlers, children, and teens, even when lifeguards are on duty.  Supervision may be provided by designated water watchers such as parents and youth leaders who are alert, not distracted (reading, using a smart device or phone), not using alcohol or drugs, and focused on those near or in the water.

​Ideally, water watchers themselves should be fully water competent, knowing safe, simple rescue techniques.
Safe, simple rescue techniques include reaching and throwing a flotation aid from the water’s edge without entering the water. However, more skills may be needed to aid someone in trouble in the water. A toddler, or anyone else, on the bottom of a backyard pool needs immediate help from someone trained to safely enter the water, submerge to the victim, remove the victim from the water, and perform CPR. A victim struggling after stepping off a hidden ledge in a lake may be beyond reaching or easy throwing distance from shore. A competent swimmer with appropriate training should be able to safely wade or swim close enough to the victim to push a flotation aid for them to grab. Rescue and first aid skills are especially important for parents whose children swim in backyard pools or recreate in other aquatic settings where lifeguards are not present. 

Water Competency Components

WATER SMARTS

  • Know your limitations: respect the water and avoid unsafe behaviors
  • Never swim alone, swim with lifeguards and/or water watchers present
  • Swim only in a safe area, free from underwater hazards, including drop-offs, with safe entry and exit points
  • Do not dive into shallow or unclear water; enter feet first.
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket while boating, regardless of swimming skill
  • Understand how physical fitness, medical conditions, and cold water change risk factors
  • Do not swim while using alcohol or drugs
  • Understand the dangers of hyperventilation and hypoxic blackout7
  • Understand how currents affect swimming in a river
  • Know how to recognize, avoid, and handle ocean rip currents
  • Know how to call for help

SWIMMING SKILLS

  • Step or jump into water over the head and return to the surface
  • Turn around and orient to safety as well as turn over
  • Float or tread water
  • Combine breath control with all swim skills, including forward movement in the water
    • Basic skill: swim to safety for at least 25 yards*
    • Advanced skill: Swim at least 100 yards using relaxed, restful strokes *
  • Exit the water
  • Perform all the skills above while clothed

*Note: Longer distances and length of times are necessary for competency in different water environments

HELPING OTHERS

  • Always provide close and constant attention to anyone (children, teens, & adults) you are supervising in or near the water.
  • Know how to recognize a drowning person
  • Learn SAFE ways to assist others who are in trouble
  • Learn CPR (both chest compressions and rescue breaths) and first aid

Media Advisory on Proper Terminology

Drowning is not always a fatal event. Some people die as a result of drowning, while others survive with serious, life-long injuries, or none at all. Thus, the term “drowning” should not be used to imply death. According to the World Health Organization: “Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid. Drowning outcomes are classified as death, morbidity and no morbidity. Agreed terminology is essential to describe the problem and to allow effective comparisons of drowning trends. Thus, this definition of drowning adopted by the 2002 World Congress on Drowning should be widely used.” 

About the Authors of this Document: Water Safety USA is a consortium of leading national governmental and nongovernmental organizations with a strong record of providing drowning prevention and water safety programs. Our mission is to empower people with resources, information, and tools to safely enjoy and benefit from our nation’s aquatic environments. Our membership is as follows:

American Academy of Pediatrics
American Red Cross
Boy Scouts of America
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Drowning Prevention Alliance
National Park Service
National Safe Boating Council
Pool and Hot Tub Alliance
Safe Kids Worldwide
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
United States Lifesaving Association
USA Swimming Foundation
YMCA of the USA

LIFE JACKETS SAVE LIVES
For more resources and information, click here to visit WaterSafetyUSA.org

Deaths from drowning are preventable tragedies that can affect anyone in, on or around the water. Wearing a life jacket is a simple life-saving technique and more people need know when to wear and how to choose a life jacket.

Life Jackets and Drowning Prevention
Even good swimmers drown. Water Safety USA members recognize that there are several safety steps required to be safe in, on and around the water (water competency, learning to swim, supervised access, designating a water watcher). Prevention is achieved through layering these protective measures. The guidance below specifically relates to the use of life jackets in overall water safety. 

Wearing a life jacket is a key component of boating safety, along with the knowledge and skill needed to keep various types of craft under control in different environments. Most states require life jackets to be worn by anyone 12 years old or younger. Even though regulations may specify that adults must have a life jacket readily available, the prudent choice is for everyone on board to always wear one. Modern life jacket designs offer comfortable options with minimal restriction on activities.

For swimming activities, key safety components include supervision, swimming ability and a safe swimming area. Whenever those are limited, life jacket use can make a lifesaving difference.

Choosing the Right Life Jacket
No matter what the water activity or life jacket style chosen, the most important thing is this: Remember to be responsible—always wear a life jacket when boating and when needed to ensure safety while in or near water. 

Not all U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets perform the same way. Some will rotate a person so they are face up if they become unconscious and some will not, so check the label to be sure it is appropriate for your planned activities and the water conditions you expect to encounter; ensure it fits properly; and test its performance so you are comfortable with how it fits and functions. Infants and younger children should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket with both a collar for head support and a strap between the legs.

Today’s life jackets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and materials. U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are sized by weight. Make sure that everyone is wearing one that is properly-sized. Do not buy a life jacket for your child to “grow into.

Try It On

  • Check the manufacturer’s ratings for your appropriate size and weight. There are many manufacturers and styles so fit may differ.
  • Choose a life jacket that fits properly.
  • Life jackets that are too big will cause the flotation device to push up around your face, which could be dangerous.
  • Life jackets that are too small may not be able to keep your body afloat.
  • Make sure the life jacket is properly zipped and/or buckled.
  • Check for fit by raising your arms above your head while wearing the life jacket and ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings and gently pull up. The life jacket should not ride up over your chin or face.
  • Ensure your life jacket fits properly with no excess room above the arm and neck openings. A snug fit in these areas shows the life jacket fits properly.

Who Should Wear a Life Jacket

  • Anyone participating in any boating, paddling or towed water sport regardless of swimming ability.
  • Inexperienced or non-swimmers in pool or open water situations when other layers of protection are limited.
  • Preschool children—those about 5 years and younger—who are not protected by touch supervision either in or near the water. Touch supervision means being within an arm’s reach of the child(ren) at all times.


​In addition, it is recommended that everyone who is in or around open water wear a life jacket as an extra layer of protection, especially outside of a lifeguarded area.

Anyone participating in any boating, paddling or towed water sports regardless of swimming ability.
​Wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved properly fitted life jacket is the simplest life-saving strategy for recreational boating, paddling or towed water sports.

According to U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics in 2018 there were 4,145 reported accidents, 2,511 reported injuries, and 633 deaths on our nation’s waterways. A majority of those deaths (77%) were due to drowning and 84% of those were not wearing a life jacket. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers statistics show that for the last ten years most of the water-related fatalities that occurred at their lake and river projects were men (87%) age 18 and older (86%) and 87% were not wearing a life jacket.

Many people who participate in boating or a boating activity including fishing, hunting, paddling and towed water sports generally don’t think they will drown because they know how to swim, don’t plan on getting in the water, or it is a nice calm day so nothing is going to happen. Alcohol can impair one’s judgment and abilities in and around water. While enjoying your favorite boating activity please keep in mind that there is always a risk of drowning so expect the unexpected and prepare for it by wearing a properly fitted life jacket.
Inexperienced or non-swimmers in pool or open water situations when other layers of protection are limited.
Most people associate life jackets with boating, but they can also help provide support for inexperienced and non-swimmers in or around water, including open water, such as lakes, oceans, ponds, reservoirs and rivers, as well as controlled environments, such as a pool, waterpark or lifeguarded beach. Almost half of 10 to 17-year old’s who fatally drowned could swim according to available information on swimming in the National Child Death Case Reporting System for 2005-2014.

Inexperienced or non-swimmers, particularly children, are at risk in these settings when supervision lapses or the venue is very crowded. Life jackets provide an additional layer of protection in these situations.
Preschool children—those about 5 years and younger—who are not protected by touch supervision; Touch supervision means staying within an arm’s reach of the child(ren) at all times.
An analysis of child death review data found that supervision was missing almost half of the time that a child fatally drowned in a pool.

Swimming aids and water toys, such as water wings, and inflatable water wings and rings, are toys. They may provide some buoyancy in the water, but they do not prevent drowning.
 
Parents should remain attentive even if their children are skilled at swimming and comfortable in the water. Even though a child has become comfortable in the water, and with wearing a life jacket, constant supervision is still needed when they are in or around the water. Young children do not have the developmental maturity to reliably or consistently follow directions or safe practices, to have judgment or the ability to recognize risks.

Everyone needs to learn how to swim without a life jacket. Can’t swim? Enroll yourself and your children in swim lessons/water orientation classes to experience being in the water without a life jacket. Continue the journey of learning to swim and regularly getting in a pool with your children without life jackets.
In addition, it is recommended that everyone who is in or around open water wear a life jacket as an extra layer of protection, especially outside of a lifeguarded area.
While drowning in swimming pools gets significant attention, the fact is that more Americans fatally drown in open water. More than half of fatal and nonfatal drownings among teens and young adults ages 15 and older (57% each) occur in natural water settings.

There is also an alarming difference in the number of fatal drownings in open water by gender, with males, and particularly teens and young adult males, at greatest risk. (84% of open water drownings in children ages 0-19 occurring in males, with males 10 to 14 years old 15.4 times the risk compared to females).

​Adults are also at risk. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has found that the majority of water-related fatalities that occurred at USACE lake and river projects nationwide were people age 18 or older (86%), male (87%), not wearing a life jacket (87%), and associated with swimming (54%).

One factor contributing to fatal drownings in open water may be the expectation that because an individual is able to swim in a pool, he/she will be safe in open water. However, open water, which includes lakes, oceans, ponds, reservoirs and rivers, has hidden hazards that can increase the risk of drowning. These include sudden drop-offs, dangerous currents, vegetation and rocks, colder temperatures, difficult-to-judge distances, rougher water including waves, limited visibility and more.

These environmental differences from the pool setting make it important for people who want to swim, wade, or just play in open water to find designated areas for swimming. If swimming outside of a designated area or in an area without lifeguards, people should always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved properly fitted life jacket appropriate for their weight and water activity.

Important Reminders

  • Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved.
  • Double check that your life jacket is appropriate for the water activities that you and your loved ones will be participating in. Read the label!
  • Take the time to ensure a proper fit: right size and right weight rating.
  • Check your life jacket – make sure it is in good serviceable condition, with no tears or holes.
  • Life jackets are not swim lesson aids. However, exposure to life jackets during swimming lessons teaches a child how it should fit, and how it feels and performs in the water.
  • The main thing to remember is that a life jacket is just one of the layers of drowning prevention. Children who have learned to swim or are comfortable in the water or in a life jacket still need other layers of drowning protection, including close supervision, fencing barriers, and lifeguards or water watchers.

About the Authors of this Document: Water Safety USA is a consortium of leading national governmental and nongovernmental organizations with a strong record of providing drowning prevention and water safety programs. Our mission is to empower people with resources, information, and tools to safely enjoy and benefit from our nation’s aquatic environments. Our membership is as follows:

American Academy of Pediatrics
American Red Cross
Boy Scouts of America
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Drowning Prevention Alliance
National Park Service
National Safe Boating Council
Pool and Hot Tub Alliance
Safe Kids Worldwide
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
United States Lifesaving Association
USA Swimming Foundation
YMCA of the USA

The following is a petition available via Change.org relating to the need to teach every child how to swim in the state of Florida:

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 programs have been designed to offer proper guidance in the matter and can be added to any school or homeschool curriculum.

Stop Drowning Now

The Safer 3 in the classroom

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 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!

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.

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 resources for teachers

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 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 water safety non-profit reminds parents and caregivers to avoid distracted supervision around pools.

MINNEAPOLIS—There’s a perfect storm of circumstances conspiring against adults’ ability to keep kids safe around pools and lakes this summer. Electronic devices continue to dominate our attention. And the COVID-19 pandemic has more adults working from home and supervising their children at the same time. For those with backyard pools, this poses an especially significant danger which has been brought to life in a chilling PSA from Abbey’s Hope.

The 30-second spot, “Watch Me!” features an all-too familiar scene: a distracted mom on the phone, laptop open as her young child splashes in the water, clamoring for her attention. What happens next is summed up by a provocative message superimposed on screen: “88% of child drownings occur with an adult nearby. 100% of those adults will never forgive themselves.” The spot concludes by inviting the viewer to become a Water Watchdog, which is an active supervision program started by Abbey’s Hope. To date, nearly 10,000 people have registered to take the pledge and receive their iconic Abbey’s Hope Water Watchdog ‘dog tag,’ a tangible reminder of the need to be vigilant when supervising children around water.

“It’s sadly ironic that we often tell our kids that we’re watching them, when we’re not,” said Katey Taylor, who along with husband Scott Taylor, founded Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation in response to the tragic death of their daughter, Abbey, following a pool drain entrapment incident in 2007. Taylor added, “Vigilant supervision has never been more important or required greater discipline, given the world we live in.”

 Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages one to four.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 379 pool- or spa-related fatal drownings reported per year for 2015 through 2017, involving children younger than 15 years of age.  The vast majority of those deaths were to children ages 4 and under.

The PSA will launch 7/20/20 on social media and is free to use and can be accessed at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZgSYeaUqWc  It also will be broadcast on local television during the summer months when pool and lake usage is at its peak. 

About Abbey’s Hope:
Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation is a Minnesota nonprofit organization named after Abbey Taylor, the Edina, Minn., six-year-old who died in 2008 as a result of injuries sustained by an improperly maintained pool drain cover. 

The Foundation’s goal is to: 

●      Promote awareness of, and education, related to child safety issues, including educating pool owners, operators, inspectors, and the general public about the dangers of pool entrapment, evisceration and drowning and the need for physical inspections of pool equipment.

●      Work with the pool and spa industry to improve the design of its products, packaging and warning labels, and assist in the development of product safety standards related to such products.

●      Identify and provide support and assistance to organizations and programs that help educate parents, children, and pool and spa manufacturers about the prevention of entrapment and traditional forms of drowning.  

Find out more about Abbey’s Hope at http://www.abbeyshope.org/

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Alison Petri
Program Manager
Abbey’s Hope Foundation
952.303.5421763.331.1899(cell)
alison@abbeyshope.org

Lakes, beaches and rivers are popular destinations for families during the summer season. It’s the best way to have some fun family time and remain cool as soon as temperatures rise but it’s not without risk.

Most children in the U.S. drown in open water which includes natural bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans as well as man-made bodies of water like canals, reservoirs, and retention ponds. In 2016, open water drownings made up 43 percent of fatal childhood drownings.*

Beaches are a favorite destination during the summer months

The first thing needed to prevent drowning incidents when in open water is learning how to swim which has proven to be a lifesaving skill that can reduce the chances of drowning by 88%. Following the tips below will also ensure you have the most amount of fun by reducing the risks and hazards that come with open water.

1.- Swim in a designated swimming area
Most state parks, beaches, and lakefront areas have designated times where swimming is allowed and use flags to indicate borders in which people can swim. Never swim outside those defined areas. Also, preferably swim under the supervision of a qualified lifeguard.

2.- When in doubt, get out
Don’t hesitate to get out of the water if something doesn’t feel right. Whether it’s that the current is getting rough, rain has started to fall or your body is just not responding like you would like it to due to fatigue or muscle cramps, then just leave and return to the water another day. It’s always a good thing to trust your instincts.

3.- Know the conditions
Check the water temperature and weather conditions before hitting the water. If the water temperature is low, your best option would be to swim with a wetsuit and don’t stay too long in the water. Bear in mind it’s not safe to swim in the rain, particularly if there is thunder and lightning. If the weather changes, don’t hesitate to swim back shore.

4.- Never Swim Alone
When you head out into the open water, go with a “swim buddy”, someone who’s looking out for you and who you’re looking out for in turn. Remember the lifeguard isn’t your “swim buddy”; they have lots of people to track when on duty and cannot be concerned with a particular person’s safety. Besides, you’ll probably have more fun swimming with a friend.

5.- Choose the right equipment
It’s very important to always choose the right equipment for your open water activity: wetsuits if the water is cold, goggles if swimming, and so on. Please note that if water temperatures are over 75-80 degrees, a wetsuit might not be a good idea. Using one for extended periods could cause heat exhaustion.

6.- Understand currents
Uncontrollables are all part of experiencing the ocean and open bodies of water. Rip tides, other currents and waves can all sweep you away from your swimming route. By choosing a static “beacon” on your boat or at the shore you’ll be able to determine if you are being swept away or not. If you do get caught in a riptide, don’t panic. Try to remain calm and swim parallel to shore to get out of it. If you try to swim against the current, you might get exhausted and really panic even more.

7.- No Alcohol
Alcohol affects your perception of danger, making you more likely to take unnecessary risks. Alcohol also impairs your balance and coordination – all essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water. So don’t drink while in the water.

8.- Wear USCG-approved life vest
Young children, weak swimmers and everybody in general should wear life jackets whenever they are in, on or around the water, even at a pool or a waterpark. It should be put on at the dock, deck or shore and not taken off until you return to dry land.

9.- Have A Plan For Emergencies
Always have a plan to handle and face emergencies whenever you go out to the water with a swim buddy or alone. Tell someone else where you are going. Having someone watching from the shore, ready to take action should you need any help, is a wise decision. Plan for every possible incident and eliminate as much uncertainty as possible.

10.- Swim parallel to the shore
If ever caught in a rip current, don’t let fear cloud your judgement. You could be swept away from shore very quickly. The best way to escape a rip current is by swimming parallel to the shore instead of towards it, since most rip currents are an average of 100 feet wide. Try to relax and breathe keeping your head above water, and don’t wear yourself out by trying to get out of the rip by swimming against the force of the current.

*Source: Hidden Hazards: An Exploration of Open Water Drowning and Risks for Children. Safe Kids Worldwide. May 2018.

Water Safety USA, a consortium of national nonprofit and governmental organizations focused on drowning prevention, has announced its water safety message for 2020. “#BeBuoyant: Life Jackets Save Lives.” A properly fit life jacket is a very effective life-saving strategy in the quest to reduce the number of fatal drowning incidents in the country.

Who should wear a life jacket?

  • Anyone participating in any boating, paddling or towed water sport regardless of swimming ability.
  • Inexperienced or non-swimmers in pool or open water situations when other layers of protection are limited.
  • Preschool children—those about 5 years and younger—who are not protected by touch supervision either in or near the water. Touch supervision means being within an arm’s reach of the child(ren) at all times.


In addition, it is recommended that everyone who is in or around open water wear a life jacket as an extra layer of protection, especially outside of a lifeguarded area.

Anyone participating in any boating, paddling or towed water sports regardless of swimming ability.
​Wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved properly fitted life jacket is the simplest life-saving strategy for recreational boating, paddling or towed water sports.

According to U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics in 2018 there were 4,145 reported accidents, 2,511 reported injuries, and 633 deaths on our nation’s waterways. A majority of those deaths (77%) were due to drowning and 84% of those were not wearing a life jacket. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers statistics show that for the last ten years most of the water-related fatalities that occurred at their lake and river projects were men (87%) age 18 and older (86%) and 87% were not wearing a life jacket.

Many people who participate in boating or a boating activity including fishing, hunting, paddling and towed water sports generally don’t think they will drown because they know how to swim, don’t plan on getting in the water, or it is a nice calm day so nothing is going to happen. Alcohol can impair one’s judgment and abilities in and around water. While enjoying your favorite boating activity please keep in mind that there is always a risk of drowning so expect the unexpected and prepare for it by wearing a properly fitted life jacket.

Inexperienced or non-swimmers in pool or open water situations when other layers of protection are limited.
Most people associate life jackets with boating, but they can also help provide support for inexperienced and non-swimmers in or around water, including open water, such as lakes, oceans, ponds, reservoirs and rivers, as well as controlled environments, such as a pool, waterpark or lifeguarded beach. Almost half of 10 to 17-year old’s who fatally drowned could swim according to available information on swimming in the National Child Death Case Reporting System for 2005-2014.

Inexperienced or non-swimmers, particularly children, are at risk in these settings when supervision lapses or the venue is very crowded. Life jackets provide an additional layer of protection in these situations.

Preschool children—those about 5 years and younger—who are not protected by touch supervision; Touch supervision means staying within an arm’s reach of the child(ren) at all times. An analysis of child death review data found that supervision was missing almost half of the time that a child fatally drowned in a pool.

Swimming aids and water toys, such as water wings, and inflatable water wings and rings, are toys. They may provide some buoyancy in the water, but they do not prevent drowning.

Parents should remain attentive even if their children are skilled at swimming and comfortable in the water. Even though a child has become comfortable in the water, and with wearing a life jacket, constant supervision is still needed when they are in or around the water. Young children do not have the developmental maturity to reliably or consistently follow directions or safe practices, to have judgment or the ability to recognize risks.

Everyone needs to learn how to swim without a life jacket. Can’t swim? Enroll yourself and your children in swim lessons/water orientation classes to experience being in the water without a life jacket. Continue the journey of learning to swim and regularly getting in a pool with your children without life jackets.


In addition, it is recommended that everyone who is in or around open water wear a life jacket as an extra layer of protection, especially outside of a lifeguarded area.
While drowning in swimming pools gets significant attention, the fact is that more Americans fatally drown in open water. More than half of fatal and nonfatal drownings among teens and young adults ages 15 and older (57% each) occur in natural water settings.

There is also an alarming difference in the number of fatal drownings in open water by gender, with males, and particularly teens and young adult males, at greatest risk. (84% of open water drownings in children ages 0-19 occurring in males, with males 10 to 14 years old 15.4 times the risk compared to females).

​Adults are also at risk. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has found that the majority of water-related fatalities that occurred at USACE lake and river projects nationwide were people age 18 or older (86%), male (87%), not wearing a life jacket (87%), and associated with swimming (54%).

One factor contributing to fatal drownings in open water may be the expectation that because an individual is able to swim in a pool, he/she will be safe in open water. However, open water, which includes lakes, oceans, ponds, reservoirs and rivers, has hidden hazards that can increase the risk of drowning. These include sudden drop-offs, dangerous currents, vegetation and rocks, colder temperatures, difficult-to-judge distances, rougher water including waves, limited visibility and more.

These environmental differences from the pool setting make it important for people who want to swim, wade, or just play in open water to find designated areas for swimming. If swimming outside of a designated area or in an area without lifeguards, people should always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved properly fitted life jacket appropriate for their weight and water activity.

Originally published on Water Safety USA.

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.

Make a splash in your family’s routine! 

Goldfish Swim School offers an array of screen-free activities, like coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, games and more! New activities are added periodically so be sure to check their site every few days.

Goldfish Swimschool Printables
Goldfish Swim School Activities

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!

Your kids can now start learning CPR at home!

You can find more CPR Party™ resources here.

RNLI Water Safety Wednesdays

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.

Water Safety Wednesdays hosted by the RNLI.

Water Safety With Josh & Friends

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!

Captain Paxton Coloring Book

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.

Pool Safely Kids Activity Corner

You can find Pool Safely‘s educational videos and activities that help children enjoy learning about pool safety and family fun in the water on their website.

Pool Safely Coloring Sheet

Virtual Activities For The Entire Family

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.

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