Drowning is a leading cause of death for children. Together, we can change that.Drowning is a leading cause of death for children. Together, we can change that.
Things to Know About Water Safety
Ensure every member of your family learns to swim so they at least achieve skills of water competency: able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance then get out of the water safely.
Employ layers of protection including barriers to prevent access to water, life jackets, and close supervision of children to prevent drowning.
Water competency is a way of improving water safety for yourself and those around you through avoiding common dangers, developing fundamental water safety skills to make you safer in and around the water, and knowing how to prevent and respond to drowning emergencies. Water competency has 3 main components: water smarts, swimming skills and helping others.
Take these sensible precautions when you’re around water (even if you’re not planning to swim):
Know your limitations, including physical fitness, medical conditions.
Never swim alone; swim with lifeguards and/or water watchers present.
Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket appropriate for your weight and size and the water activity. Always wear a life jacket while boating, regardless of swimming skill.
Understand the dangers of hyperventilation and hypoxic blackout.
Know how to call for help.
Understand and adjust for the unique risks of the water environment you are in, such as:
Ocean rip currents.
Shallow or unclear water.
Underwater hazards, such as vegetation and animals.
Want to learn more about water competency? Check out Water Safety USA, a consortium of the American Red Cross and other leading national governmental and nongovernmental organizations whose mission includes drowning prevention.
How to Make Water Safety a Priority
Use Layers of Protection In & Around Water
Even if lifeguards are present, you (or another responsible adult) should stay with your children.
Be a “water watcher” – provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising; avoid distractions including cell phones.
Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
Children, inexperienced swimmers, and all boaters should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
Take specific precautions for the water environment you are in, such as:
Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers, including four-sided fencing that separates the water from the house.
At the beach, always swim in a lifeguarded area.
Know the Risks & Take Sensible Precautions – Even If You’re a Strong Swimmer
Always swim with a buddy.
Don’t use alcohol or drugs (including certain prescription medications) before or while swimming, diving or supervising swimmers.
Help Your Family Be Safer in and Around Water. Children and adults can learn to be safer in and around water with Swim by the American Red Cross. Knowing how to swim is exciting and opens the door to many opportunities, but water is not without risk. Learning to enjoy the water safely should be the first step for anyone who will be around water. Have fun learning water safety in an engaging way with video and activities for kids and families. Track your kids’ progress with this FREE app as they learn to swim.