Water Safety and Drowning Prevention

Drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1-14 and 6th leading cause of death for all ages according to the CDC (1 in every 5 fatal drowning victims in the US).

Drowning is preventable. Contrary to what most people believe, drowning is a quick and silent killer. In the time it takes to get a towel (10 seconds), a child can become submerged. The majority of drowning occurs in family pools

  • Fence Pools! Ensure pool gates/locks are in proper working order. Gates should swing shut to a locked position on its own.
    • The first line of defense is to install and use “Layers of Protection”.
    • Perimeter fences must me non-climbable, four-sided, and a minimum of 60 inches high.
    • Isolation fences must separate the pool/spa from the residence with openings no more than 4 inches wide to children can’t squeeze through the spaces. They must be non-climbable, four-sided, and a minimum of 48 inches high. 60 inches is recommended.
    • Gates must be kept closed and never propped open
    • Doors, windows, and gates must be locked, self-closing, and self-latching.
    • Tables / chairs / planters must be moved away from the pool.
    • Floating toys, balls, and sinking toys left in the pool are enticing.
  • Homes that have pools should have a separate gate between back door of home and pool. Alarm systems should alert when back door opens. (Required by some local governments)
  • Swim lessons!! In and around water safety. Teach your kids to not be in/ around bodies of water without supervision. Enroll your children in proven swimming lessons until they have mastered the 4 competitive strokes, treading water, sidestroke, and floating
  • Always designate a WATER WATCHER. Lifeguards are great, but the best surveillance comes from a guardian watching the child one on one. This means no phone, no alcohol, and no distractions.
  • Avoid breath holding games/ training while swimming. This can cause shallow water blackout
  • Never Swim Alone! Use the Buddy System
  • Know the local forecast before beginning recreational activities in bodies of water. This includes swimming, boating, skiing.
  • Learn CPR. Prevention is always the best practice, but accidents happen. Learning CPR ensures that you are prepared. CPR knowledge is a great life skill. Hands-Only CPR is not designed for children.
  • On average there are about ten deaths per day from unintentional drownings (non-boating related) in the United States
  • On Average, about 350 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.
  • About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.2 For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
  • More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care. These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).
  • Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates.
  • Potentially, half of all boating deaths might be prevented with the use of life jackets