water safety

National Water Safety Month

May is National Water Safety Month. Let’s promote fun and safety in, on, and around the water for all ages and abilities!

National Water Safety Month is an awareness campaign that focuses on safe practices in, on, and around the water and reducing injury while enjoying aquatic activities. Swimming and other water-related activities are increasingly popular this time of year, so it’s helpful to be reminded of safe water practices. The American Red Cross, World Waterpark Association, National Recreation and Park Association, and the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals are partners in coordinating the awareness campaign. You can learn more about the campaign by visiting the National Water Safety Month website.

Water Safety Checklist

Get ready for a fun and enjoyable swim season by using our water safety checklist. Check off the items as you review them and take action now so that you’re ready for poolside fun. Share the checklist with others so we can all bring attention to water safety. We can work together to make a real difference in water safety in our communities.

  • Learn to Swim! Swimming is fun! Surprisingly, over 50% of Americans can’t swim or don’t have the basic swimming skills. Learning to swim is one of the most important ways to prevent water safety incidents. Equip your children (and yourself) with the skills they need to be safe and confident in and around the water. According to a 2009 Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine study, participation by kids aged 1-4 years in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%. Check with your local YMCA facility or swim school for a list of upcoming classes and sign up! Who knows? You may find a new favorite sport!
  • Make it Social! The water is more fun with friends! Always swim with a buddy. Don’t allow anyone to swim alone, even at pools with lifeguards. It’s a good idea to keep a cell phone nearby in case there is a need to call for help. When you’re boating, be sure to go with a friend or two and wear a life jacket.
  • Monitor Children in and around water! Never leave a child unattended around the water. Appoint a responsible adult as the “Water Watcher” so children are monitored at all times. Stay within arm’s reach of little ones and stay focused on them. Remove toys from the water when the kids are not playing with them – toys can be a powerful attraction to inexperienced or untrained swimmers. Train children in safe practices such as walking – not running – at the pool.
  • Create a Safe Pool Environment! A safe pool is a fun pool. There are many things you can do to improve the safety of your backyard pool. Start with a professionally-built swimming pool that meets local codes and is properly bonded and grounded. If you have an existing outdoor pool, enclose the pool area with a sturdy fence; add a safety cover; and upgrade to a pool pump with a safety vacuum release system (SVRS). These are just a few of the ways you can improve the safety of your existing pool. Maintaining your pool on a regular basis will also go a long way to keeping the environment safe.

Be safe this summer and check out the American Red Cross water safety tips for more great ideas. See tips from Simple Steps Save Lives and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

What are you doing to promote safety in and around the water? By following our checklist and reviewing other water safety resources each year at the beginning of the swimming season, you can go a long way toward becoming more water-safety aware. Spread the word! Together, we can work to improve water safety for everyone.