Water Safety on Vacation

By Reach for the Wall Staff

The month of May is the official National Water Safety month, but as families head out for vacation these last few weeks of August, we thought to provide some key reminders. It seemed almost every month this summer there has been a news headline about an incident in the DC area where children have been saved from drowning or have died due to drowning. This issue is not isolated to the DC area, as noted in a World Health Organization fact sheet (updated May 2017), water safety and drowning are a global problem:

  • Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths.
  • There are an estimated 360,000 annual drowning deaths worldwide.
  • Global estimates may significantly underestimate the actual public health problem related to drowning.
  • Children, males and individuals with increased access to water are most at risk of drowning.

Further, from the 2014 global report on drowning,

  • United States of America: drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children aged 1–14 years.

When you go out to the pool, beach, lake, river, or bath, take the first step and Watch your Kids:

  • Designate a water watcher when you are in, on, or around water.
  • Watch all children and adolescents swimming or playing in or around water, even if they know how to swim.
  • Young children or inexperienced swimmers need to be within arm’s reach of an adult at all times.
  • Make sure a responsible person constantly watches young children in the bath.
  • A water watcher is not a substitute for a lifeguard. Choose a lifeguard protected area if possible, and designate a water watcher.
  • Prevention is the key role of a water watcher. Don’t wait for an emergency. Encourage safe activities and stop any unsafe or risky behaviors.
  • For any child who is a non-swimmer or lacks water competency skills, the water watcher should provide “touch supervision”, be close enough to reach the child at all times to grab the child.
  • Because drowning can be quick and quiet, the water watcher should pay constant attention, be undistracted, not be involved in any other activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.
  • Parents, caregivers, aquatic facility owners, managers and operators should use multiple “layers of protection” to ensure safety

Across the country and in the DC area, there are many non-profit groups that have resources available to raise awareness and increase preparedness. One such organization is CPR Party™, whose sole mission is to increase awareness and spread the knowledge for potentially lifesaving techniques.  In 2012, Laura Metro (Bethesda, MD) established CPR Party™ and is bringing CPR awareness and training to the masses.  This summer her efforts attracted National attention as she was featured on Good Morning America and Nightly News with Lester Holt:

As shown in the video clip, the CPR Party™ event is a great way to get your friends together, gain some knowledge, and hone your CPR skills. Laura and CPR Party™ has made it easy to request an event through their website: CPR Party Request

On the National scene USA Swimming is also making a big push to educate and equip children and adults alike with life saving skills. In 2004 the USA Swimming Foundation was established and “works to strengthen the sport by saving lives and building champions—in the pool and in life. Whether equipping our children with the life-saving skill of learn-to-swim through our Make a Splash initiative, or providing financial support to our heroes on the U.S. National Team”.  The Foundation directly funds the Make a Splash initiative which is driven to saving children’s lives through swim lessons. As stated on the Make a Splash website, their 3 main focus areas are:

  • Raising Awareness – we want to educate YOU and the nation about how important it is to get children into swimming lessons! To see how we are educating parents, children, and communities all over America about the importance of learning to swim, check out the highlights from our annual Make a Splash Tour presented by Phillips 66.
  • Aligning Partners – we are bringing together national organizations, community-based water safety coalitions and advocacy groups, and volunteers to help us spread our water safety message! Interested in joining one of our networks? Click here!
  • Increasing Participation – our current goal is to reach 1 million children annually through our Make a Splash Local Partner swim lesson provider network by December 31, 2017!

Also through their website, the Make a Splash program provides resources for parents to Find Swim Lessons within their area and take the first step to becoming safer around the water.

Lastly, if you’re heading out the door or just arriving at your destination, spend a few minutes and have each of your family members Take the Safety Pledge. By taking the pledge, you are joining Olympians and others in taking action toward having a safe and enjoyable water experience!






One thought on “Water Safety on Vacation

  • Jan 1, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Dear Friends,

    Thank you very much for the great work you are doing to sensitize and promote safe swimming programs sports, We are happy to write to you so that we can benefit from your advice, expertise , exchange programs, help and mentoring programs.
    Lifetime swim club is a club in Kenya under Lifetime Skills Talents And Fun Industry with the aim to introduce , develop , coach and grow all swimming We are passionate people who use sports and physical activity coaching programs to inspire children, young people and families to be Active for Life.
    Lifetime Swim club stand out from the crowd and are at the heart of improving lives through our swimming programs from learn to swim to competitive and physical activity programs. Our innovative, education-focused, sports and physical activity coaching programs provide our people with safe, fun and affordable solutions.
    Our club is under a direct eye of coach Kenneth ASCA level 4 coach and FINA Elite trained coach.
    We provide all abilities gain access to during , after school , weekends and holidays swim/ sports programs and physical programs in schools , clubs, slums etc. We raise awareness of the importance of athletics in developing future leaders, with skills and values that transfer from the sports field into the classroom, workplace, family and community.
    We introduce swimming through partnership with schools, clubs and institutions.
    Our objectives are to introduce active swimming lifestyle within Kenya ,
    .Promote , encourage and develop, safe, fun, recreational and competitive swimming in Kenya and the wider community
    .To strive to provide and support all swimming programs to all age groups and gender.
    .To represent swimming within the community for fitness, recreational and fun and avoid death by drowning.
    .To encourage as a great level of participation in swimming and sports as possible to all levels and explore exchange programs
    . Partner with organization and companies to spread swimming , conduct training camps that will benefit coaches and athletes.
    .To promote the importance of participation and involvement in swimming to the personal development individuals , including through the provision of access to coaching qualifications.
    Drowning is one of the major killer in our country due to many people who cant swim. We loose so many lives in a year irrespective of age and gender through drowning
    The club would be happy to partner with you and others for the benefit of improving the number of people exposed to swimming and helping them achieve their potential through exchange programs , scholarships, training ,mentorship , holidays camp, parents training, clubs , coaches and swimming in Kenya.

    We pray for a good working relationship in the swimming aquatics industry.

    Thanks in advance as we look forward to a great relationship.

    Best regards,

    Karani Kenneth – Coach – Lifetime swim club


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *