Through SPLASH, Navy MWR Fitness strives to educate parents and legal guardians on pool safety and the dangers associated with unsupervised swimming.
Stay within arm’s reach…Adult supervision is the first line of defense in preventing accidental drownings. Drownings can occur quickly and quietly and in as little as 1 inch of water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 or younger, with children from 1 to 4 having the highest drowning rates. Even more alarming, 1 in 5 drownings occur in public pools with lifeguards present. Parents must remain within arm’s reach of non-swimmers at all times.
Protect your non-swimmers…Water wings and other inflatable floats and devices are not designed to save your child, nor allowed in Navy MWR Aquatic facilities. Floaties provide children and parents with a false sense of safety. All non-swimmers who do not meet the arm-pit depth and who wish to use the pool must be in are encouraged to be in a Coast Guard-approved life jacket and must remain within arm’s reach of their parent at all times.
Learn to Swim…Research shows a reduction in the risk of drowning by as much as 88% among children ages 1-4 years by participation in formal swim lessons.* Navy MWR provides swim lessons for all ages with certified Water Safety Instructors. Contact your local Aquatics staff for more details.
Assess swim skills…Proper skill assessment is vital in ensuring the safety of children. All children that wish to use the deep end of the pool, including slides and diving board, must be assessed prior to entering the pool. Lifeguards will be available at times specified at the local facility to provide the official Navy Fitness Youth swim skills test.
Swim Safely…A day at the pool or beach is fun. However, as much as it is fun, it needs to be safe. Youth non-swimmers and swimmers must remain in their designated areas at all times. Water games are acceptable, but extended breath-holding is not authorized. Remember, even the strongest swimmers and elite athletes can die using breath-holding techniques and games. Stay safe, swim safe.
Hang it up…20 seconds, that’s all it takes for a child to drown. No tweet, status update, text, or phone call is worth risking a child’s drowning and/or possible death. It is up to parents to ensure the safety of their child even if lifeguards are working. Eliminate distractions and keep sight of your child at all times.
*Reference: Brenner, R. A., Taneja, G. S., Haynie, D. L., Trumble, A. C., Qian, C., Klinger, R. M., & Klebanoff, M. A. (2009). Association between swimming lessons and drowning in childhood: a case-control study. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 163(3), 203–210 (https://doi.org/10.1001/archpediatrics.2008.563).