Info for Parents, Guardians, Educators

Parents/guardians, babysitters, and educators all may have a responsibility to supervise children. When there are pools, spas, or other containers of water around the home or bodies of water in the area you are visiting, you must be aware of water safety principles that provide layers of protection for the children you are responsible for who are drawn to water even when you have no plans for swimming or water-based activities.

The Need for Constant Supervision

The number one reason for the tragic drowning of many small children is a lapse in supervision that allows the small child to gain access to water. Supervision needs to be combined with other strategies like  barriers, alarm systems, etc. to prevent access, but always remember that constant supervision is key. This makes a safety system.

Specific water safety information is available on other pages for:

Baby in bathYou need to supervise your children continues during bath time and when they are enjoying the water. Children under 5 should be within arm’s reach of an adult caregiver at all times. Older children don’t need to be supervised as closely, but you need to make sure they are playing safely and following safety rules. RULES-Water WingsAll rough play and risky behaviors must be stopped immediately.

If you a parent/guardian, your role as the primary supervisor does not disappear when your children are enrolled in swimming lessons or involved in recreational swimming supervised by lifeguards. Likewise, if you are a group leader or swimming instructor, you need to continue to supervise your group even if lifeguards are present.

Although most swimming instructors, coaches, and lifeguards are excellent supervisors, they have to watch entire groups of children or entire sections of an aquatic environment filled with swimmers. Sometimes lapses in supervision can occur with the best of supervisors, and, in the worst case, the supervisors we trust the most do not take their safety responsibilities seriously at all. In either case, your watchful eye on your own children may save their lives. (On more than one occasion, a parent during swimming lessons has been observed rushing from the bleachers to the water to rescue their submerging child before the swimming instructor or lifeguard even recognized that the child was in trouble!)

A “Big Picture” Aquatic Safety Plan

In, on, and around the water, parents/guardians and other supervisors of small children need a “Big Picture” Aquatic Safety Plan. This means you have taken everything into consideration to have a safe and fun day whether you are taking a dip in the backyard pool, spending the day on a boat on a lake, traveling to the tide pools of a beautiful rocky beach, etc. Here are some things to consider for your plan: