The National Water Safety Coalition, led by American Red Cross, National Recreation and Park Association, Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and World Waterpark Association, is celebrating its 19th annual National Water Safety Month (NWSM) this May. With support from water safety organizations across the country, the Coalition raises awareness about water safety and highlights the importance of public education regarding safer practices for kids and adults in and around water.
“Most child drownings occur during times without parent or guardian permission to be in the water or direct supervision,” said William D. Ramos, PhD, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. “National Water Safety Month is a powerful way to raise awareness of this fact at the start of the warm weather season. During this month and throughout the year, we are encouraging parents and caregivers to apply layers of protection – starting with preventing unsupervised access to water such as fencing pools and spas with adequate barriers. Other critical layers include providing constant attention to children in or near water, and always keeping an eye out for any water dangers such as portable splash pools, buckets and bathtubs, or any place where water may collect.”
For nearly 20 years, the Coalition has played a significant role leading the conversation on keeping families safer in the water. Its continued efforts to strengthen water safety education has led to key advocacy efforts with thousands of aquatics facilities and professionals throughout the U.S.
With educational programs, public service announcements, dealer and aquatics business promotions, and the distribution of water safety materials, the Coalition is committed to supporting safety initiatives that help prevent water-related fatalities, illnesses and injuries.
“Based on the 2022 NRPA Agency Performance Review, park and recreation professionals throughout the nation provide aquatics programming at more than 70 percent of agencies,” said Julie Boland, NRPA Vice President of Credentialing and Member Operations. “At NRPA, we are proud to support National Water Safety Month and recognize the importance of providing equitable access to opportunities for all people to learn to swim.”
The Coalition supports water safety activities throughout the month, including:
- International Water Safety Day
International Water Safety Day (May 15, 2022) is designed to help spread global awareness of the ongoing drowning pandemic and educate youth in becoming safer in and around water. May 15 is a day to spread drowning awareness and water safety education by any means possible.
- World’s Largest Swimming Lesson
Celebrating its 13th year of saving lives, the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (WLSL) (June 23, 2022) is a global event launched by the World Waterpark Association. With thousands of participants, leading aquatics facilities build awareness about the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim to prevent drowning.
- State Proclamations
In preparation for National Water Safety Month this year, the Coalition has also successfully garnered gubernatorial proclamations since 2003 and is continuing this important work nationwide. Look for your state’s proclamation here.
- Safe Swimmer Pledge
Anyone can join the movement to reinforce the importance of water safety and become an advocate in the community. The Safe Swimmer Pledge encourages children to practice safe swimming behaviors.
- Social Media Conversations
All month long, the Coalition will be sharing safety tips and resources across its social media channels. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook, and join the #NWSM2022 conversations.
“National Water Safety Month is a pivotal milestone to continue the important conversation about safety best practices in the water,” said Sabeena Hickman, President and CEO of Pool & Hot Tub Alliance. “PHTA is a proud member of the National Water Safety Coalition, and we are grateful to our partners who join us in our mission to keep our children safe through swimming education.”
Swim activity increases in May, which is considered the official start to summer. With beaches, pools, waterparks and community centers buzzing, the Coalition is determined to spread water awareness to keep children and their families safe. Learning to swim and practicing safe behaviors are critical first steps.
“We’ve made a lot of progress since we launched the NWSM initiative, but we have a long way to go. Drowning is now the single leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 and far too many parents and caregivers still don’t understand the risks,” said Rick Root, President of the World Waterpark Association. “NWSM is a compelling platform and thousands of members of the aquatics industry are committed to reaching their communities with these vital water safety messages.”
- Detailed information and free resources in support of National Water Safety Month for consumers and businesses can be found at NationalWaterSafetyMonth.org.
- A variety of Red Cross water safety resources are also available including our free Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers online course which focuses on developing an awareness of the risks of drowning and how to minimize those risks, especially for young children.
- The Red Cross Swim app, sponsored by The ZAC Foundation, has water safety content for the entire family. The app features information on the layers of protection to prevent drowning, risks around water at home and other environments such as lakes, rivers and oceans, as well as in risky situations, such as group gatherings. A special interactive section for kids helps them learn about good safety choices with quizzes to check their knowledge and opportunities to earn virtual badges that they can share.