Water and Swim Safety

Water and Swim Safety

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children under a year old are more likely to drown at home. 

Learn how to prevent drownings and save lives. Follow these tips to keep your children safe around sources of water, including:

  • bathtubs
  • home or public pools
  • lakes
  • the ocean  
  • other bodies of water

Safe Kids Top 5 Drowning Prevention Tips

  1. An adult who is free from distractions should watch kids in or around water at all times. Young children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so it is important to keep them within arm’s reach of an adult. Learn about the Water Watcher program
  2. Keep tubs, kid’s pools, buckets and other sources of water empty when not in use. Store these items upside down and out of children’s reach.
  3. Close lids and doors around the home. Close toilet lids and bathroom and laundry room doors. 
  4. Install fences around home pools. The pool fence should surround all sides of the poll and be at least four feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.
  5. Learn CPR and basic water rescue skills. It is important for adults to know how to respond to an emergency without putting themselves at risk.

Get more swim safety tips. 

Water Watcher tag

Water Watcher

When children are swimming, adult supervision is the best way to keep them safe. The Water Watcher is an adult who has agreed to supervise children in the water. This person agrees to watch kids without distractions and they wear the Water Watcher card.

This visible signal helps others know that the adult is doing an important job and should not be disturbed. After a certain period, the card is passed to another adult to continue the supervision.

Click here to download a Water Watcher card.  

Water Safety for Everyone

Drowning can happen to anyone and anywhere there is access to water. It is silent and happens quickly.

The CDC estimates that 4,000 people die from drowning in the United States each year.

Drowning Is Preventable

Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe around water.

  • Everyone should learn basic swimming and water safety skills. Formal swim lessons are recommended for all ages.
  • Life jackets can reduce the risk of drowning, especially when boating or swimming in natural bodies of water. People of all ages and swimming abilities should consider using a jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Use the buddy system. Always swim with another person. Never leave children unattended around water without an adult.
  • Avoid alcohol or other substances that can impair your judgement, balance and reaction time. 
  • Know the risk of natural waters. Lakes and oceans can have dangerous currents, waves or rocks with limited visibility. Check weather forecasts before swimming in natural water and obey all warning signs posted at beaches.
  • Learn CPR. Knowing how to perform CPR can save a person’s life. Find CPR classes near you.

Get more boat safety tips.