January 17, 2017

Simple Safety Steps Series: Never leave a child unattended in or near the water

It only takes a second. Drowning doesn’t happen in the way Hollywood portrays it. It’s quick, silent and can often go unnoticed if a parent or guardian is distracted. Vigilance is paramount when children are in or near the water, which is why it is so important to designate an adult Water Watcher.

A Water Watcher is:

  • Assigned to watch children in the water, never leaving them unattended
  • Regularly scans the bottom of the pool
  • Avoids talking on the phone or engaging in distracting, poolside conversations
  • Will call 911 and administer CPR in the event of an emergency
  • Can locate and know how to use all pool safety equipment onsite

If a group of adults is present, they can take turns being Water Watchers, rotating shifts every 15 minutes. This allows everyone to have an enjoyable time at the gathering, while ensuring that children are safer in and around the water. Unfortunately, too many drownings occur at pool parties with many adults present – everyone thinks someone else is watching, when, in reality, no one is watching.

However, don’t just take our word for it. Alan Korn, Executive Director of Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation, wants to remind you about the importance of supervision, too:

“Each year, far too many children drown in pools, spas and open bodies of water.  These drowning incidents can happen in a matter of seconds.  Each of these deaths is tragic.  The good news, however, is that each one of these deaths could have been prevented.  The best way is through active supervision.   Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation wants to remind parents to be vigilant and make sure an adult is watching any child when he/she is in or near the water at all times. Water Watcher tags are an effective way to protect children.  We recommend parents/caregivers use them.”

Order our free Water Watcher cards with lanyards so the supervising adult can wear them while they are the designated Watcher. This will alert the children and other adults in the area that you are the on-duty Water Watcher. Even better, order a few of these cards and share them with your local recreation centers, community or school pools, encouraging them to adopt the Water Watcher program!

For more tips on being a Water Watcher, check out some of these great resources from Pool Safely and our partners:

And remember, you never know which step will save a life, until it does!

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