If there’s any pool-related topic in which anyone will benefit by becoming an expert, it’s drowning prevention. Hands down. Unlike pool design and options, safety isn’t something that’s one and done. Unlike maintenance, safety isn’t something you can outsource. Drowning prevention, like so many other pivotal areas of life, cannot be reduced to a list of do’s and don’ts — even though those are important; instead, it starts with education and understanding and leads to intentional applications. Just as important as it is to be vigilant about water safety yourself, it is also crucially important to be educating those around you who will contribute to the risk factors in your pool — for better or for worse.
The “Safer 3” message from the organization Stop Drowning Now encompasses a trio of areas of risk: the person, the water, and the response. Note that the word “safer” is used, rather than “safe”; this is because the organization wants to communicate the important and sobering truth that no one can enjoy the water in a state of complete safety from risk; the best we can do is to assess and reduce our risks.
In this post, we’ll take an overview of the 3 factors and the impacts on safety in each of them. Many online and printable water safety resources are available for free from Stop Drowning Now when you register as a “Community Member.”
Most of the activities or instructional segments are only 5 to 15 minutes in length and could easily be used at the beginning of each swimming session. We’ll recommend a couple of these resources under each of the “Safer 3” categories.
Don’t worry: you don’t have to have a teaching degree in order to use these resources: simply print and/or look over your chosen “lesson” before your pool session and be prepared to review from your last session, perhaps using the “Safer 3 Vocabulary” cards and asking a child to explain why each one is important and what it has to do with drowning prevention. (If you have access to a laminator, you may want to use it to keep resources from getting water logged; otherwise, though, a zip-top sandwich bag can also work well, in a pinch.)
The behavior of both adults and children can impact safety. A common misconception is that someone who is a strong swimmer is “drown-proof,” but that’s a false — and dangerous — assumption. While no one is free from risk, greater safety can be achieved with constant and responsible adult supervision and ongoing swimming instruction for kids.
The Safer 3 mascot for “Safer Kids” is Timmy Tadpole, who is featured in many resources relating to that topic. Under the category of safer people, you can download sorting cards for the game “Are You Cool or a Fool?” Another interactive option is the Reach or Throw Headband that coordinates with the “Don’t Go Into The Pool” song.
Continue reading with Part 2.
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