Water Safety: Do You Know The 3 Essential Rules?

Water safety and drowning prevention: I often attend a water safety class through Children’s Medical Center. Having a pool in our backyard, being surrounded by lakes and pools in TX, and the fact that nearly 300 people drown in TX every year, my family takes pool and water safety very seriously.

The following are some good drowning prevention ideas which I gathered from this class.

The 3 Essential Rules of Water Safety
#1 Test & Teach
#2 Watch & Guard
#3 Throw, Don’t Go

Test & Teach
1) To test and teach, you can have your child’s swimming skills tested at a local YMCA. Click here for a free swimming assessment. Every summer, we have a professional swim instructor come to our home and pool for several weeks, not only for swim lessons but to also give us an evaluation of our son’s skills and what we need to worry about regarding his weaknesses in the pool. We have found swimming lessons & assessments very effective and educational.

Watch & Guard
2) The watch and guard, is a BIG one for my family. While we didn’t add barriers around our pool, and I’ll explain in another post why we decided against this, we are huge believers in watching children when in the pool, teaching our children to respect the water, and putting alarms on doors going outside to the pool. Also, at the class, I attended, “water watcher tags” were passed out. They are basically a badge that the supervising adult wears around their neck when at pool parties or any place where confusion often arises as to who is watching what child or distractions can easily take place. Click here to request your free water watcher tags via mail or download and print.

Throw Don’t Go
3) Throw, don’t go, was something new taught to me. If my child was to fall in, my first instinct would have been to jump in after him. It turns out, this is not what you should do. You should never jump in to save a child, but instead, use a flotation device or pole to reach out and give to the drowning child. Even a young child will grab and hold on. The reason for this is that a child in panic, even a child weighing only 30 pounds, can easily drown an adult in the process of drowning themselves.
Our own pool rule is to try and have 1 to 2 flotation devices (noodles, kickboards) in the deep end for every child and parent in our pool. I have to admit that I would still probably jump in if I thought my child was drowning, but now I would make sure we both had flotation devices to also hold on to.

Feature photo credit: Kris Krug via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

And if you are swimming with multiple children, read this post, Swimming and Poolside Safely with Twins and Multiples

What tips or advice can you add for water safety?

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5 thoughts on “Water Safety: Do You Know The 3 Essential Rules?”

  1. Hello there Beth!!

    I just found this blog 2 years after being published however I want to say that you you did a wonderful job of presenting on this subject. Water Watcher training programs are crucial for anyone who has a pool or maybe frequents the beach or lake.

    Recently with the Bode Miller tragedy I have ramped up my efforts to get more people trained as water watchers here in the Southern California region. Drowning as you know, is 100% preventable! My goal is to use my life, my training and my experiences to bring more awareness to this subject via podcasts, talkshows and other forms of media.

    Again, Thank you!!

    • Thank you Ed Castillo! I appreciate and love your comment. Especially from an expert in the field, such as yourself. You know first hand how important it is to spread an awareness for water watchers and I love that you are going to social media to do so!


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