In the U.S., drowning takes an average of 3,500-4,000 lives per year. That is an average of 10 per day! In California, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children under the age of 15.
With the summer season quickly approaching, families typically would be enrolling their children into swimming lessons or purchasing a season pass to the favorite community pool. However, the COVID-10 pandemic has forced recreation departments to reevaluate their aquatic operations. It is still unknown if aquatic facilities will re- open this year, but we can still spread the word on the importance of swim lessons and water safety.
- Designate a responsible individual(s) as the person to watch over children whenever they are in, on or around any body of water, even if a lifeguard is present. Do not trust a child’s life to another child.
- Always swim with a buddy, never alone, no matter how strong of a swimmer you are. According to USA Swimming Foundation, children who swim with their family are 2.7 times more likely to be good swimmers.
- Read and obey all rules and posted signs.
- Avoid distractions when supervising children in or near water. No reading, texting or playing games on your phone.
- No matter your age, learning to swim is the one of the best ways to be safer in and around water. Formal swimming lessons in children as young as 1 year old can reduce the risk of drowning.
- When choosing a life jacket— Make sure it is the right type for the activity. Make sure it is U.S. Coast Guard approved. Make sure it fits the intended user. Check the label on the life jacket for weight limits. Check buckles and straps for proper function. Discard any life jacket with torn fabric or straps that have pulled loose.
- Make sure swimmers know about the water environment and any potential hazards, such as deep and shallow areas, currents, obstructions and the locations of entry and exit points. The more informed people are, the more aware they will be of hazards as well as safe practices.
- Take breaks from water activities. This gives swimmers and those supervising them an opportunity to rest.
- Call for help if you or someone is in trouble.
- Pools aren’t the only place people swim or play in the water. Swim safely in splash parks, lakes, rivers and the ocean.
The American Red Cross created Longfellow WHALE Tales to raise children’s awareness of safe behavior in, on and around the water. WHALE Tales is designed for children 1-10 years old and can be a great way for you to help your child learn about water safety from home. Watch the videos below with the whole family!
- Don’t Just Pack it Wear Your Jacket
- Swim as a Pair Near a Lifeguard Chair
- Look Before You Leap
- Wave Tide Or Ride Follow the Guide
- Too Much Sun is No Fun
- Reach or Throw, Don’t Go
- Think So You Don’t Sink
- In Your Home Or In Your Yard
Once you watch the video, be sure to talk with your kids about the importance of water safety and take the Safe Swimmer Pledge! Send us a photo of your safe swimmer pledge to firstname.lastname@example.org .