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.
The Red Cross believes that by working together to improve water competency – which includes swimming skills, water smarts and helping others – water activities can be safer… and just as much fun.
Orientation to Swim Lessons for Parents and Caregivers
This FREE online course can help you get the most out of Red Cross swim lessons.
Be a Water Safety Ambassador Course
Take this FREE online course and help your community thrive by teaching kids and adults about water safety.
Water Safety for Parents & Caregivers Course
Our FREE online course helps parents and caregivers learn the basics of water safety.
Seguridad en el Agua para Padres y Cuidadores
Nuestro curso en línea GRATUITO ayuda a los padres y cuidadores a aprender los conceptos básicos de la seguridad en el agua.
Swim Classes For the Entire Family
Red Cross swim lessons help children & adults gain water safety and swimming skills. Ages 6 months – adult.
What Does It Mean to Be Water Competent?
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 Safe in and Around Water. Swim is the companion to the Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program. This FREE app includes games and videos for kids, plus a swim lesson progress tracker. The app also provides the latest in water safety guidance to help ensure your family stays safe in, on and around water.