Safe Swimmer's Pledge for Kids

Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers

FREE online course for parents,
teachers, and caregivers.

American Academy of Pediatrics

Water safety tips for all ages.

Water Competency Skills

More than just knowing how to swim.


Home Water Safety Tips

By Guillermina Ramirez

Schools and childcare centers are currently closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, meaning kids of all ages will now be spending entire days at home. Toddlers are particularly full of energy and curious about everything, making them much more prone to accidents and requiring undivided attention throughout the day. Here are some tips that you can implement to make your home safer.

Home pools and spas are, of course, drowning hazards which is why implementing layers of protection is so important. Bearing in mind that drowning can happen in even a very little amount of water, think of all the other objects in your home that are full or potentially full of water: toilet bowls, unemptied tubs, sinks, birdbaths, pet dishes… Babies and toddlers are naturally curious so having all these hazards in mind becomes increasingly important.

The following tips are meant to make your home safer:

Active Adult Supervision at All Times

  • Your child must never be unattended when around water. Bear in mind that babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.

  • When watching kids when they are in or around water, avoid any and all distractions. Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult (touch supervision).

Empty Tubs and Buckets After Use

  • Immediately drain the tub once bath time is over.

  • Empty buckets, containers, and kiddie pools as soon as they are no longer in use and store them upside down. This is so they don’t collect water.

Keep Lids and Doors Closed

  • Close toilet lids and consider using toilet seat locks to prevent drowning.

  • Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed at all times.

Backyard Pools

  • Watch kids when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult. Make sure older children swim with a partner every time.

  • When children are swimming and there are several adults present, make sure kids are actively supervised at all times by choosing a Water Watcher. A Water Watcher is a responsible adult who agrees to watch the kids in the water without distractions and wear a Water Watcher card. After a certain amount of time (such as 15-minutes), the Water Watcher card is passed to another adult, who is responsible for active supervision. Download a Water Watcher card here.

  • Install fences around home pools. A pool fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least four feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.

  • Teach children how to swim. Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development and how often they are around water.

Make sure kids learn how to swim and develop these five water survival skills:

  1. step or jump into water over their heads and return to the surface;

  2. float or tread water for one minute; 

  3. turn around in a full circle and find an exit

  4. swim 25 yards to exit the water; and

  5. exit the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.


“Safe Swimmer’s Pledge” for Kids

Research shows that we're more successful at meeting goals when we join forces with others.


Join the movement to reinforce the importance of water safety. Take the pledge, spread the message, and become an advocate in your community today.


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Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers

This FREE course teaches parents about the concepts of the circle of drowning prevention, water competency, and the chain of drowning survival. It also provides guidance for applying water safety to common environments and situations where children are most at risk for drowning.


Parents: Developing Water Competency and Why Water Safety is Important

Developing Water Competency

Water competency is the idea that water safety is more than just knowing how to swim. It also includes being water smart and knowing how to help others. After all, water safety skills can vary from place to place – from a lake to an ocean, a pool to a river.

Watch as our experts discuss the basic water competency skills sequence from the Red Cross, and address why water safety is important at every stage of your experience, including those moments before you enter the water, your time in the water, and leaving the area.


Why Is Water Safety So Important?

It only takes a moment. A child or weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text, check a fishing line or apply sunscreen. Death and injury from drownings happen every day in home pools and hot tubs, at the beach or in oceanslakes, rivers and streams, bathtubs, and even buckets. 

The Red Cross believes that by working together to improve water competency – which includes swimming skills, water smarts and helping others – water activities can be safer… and just as much fun. 

What Does It Mean to Be Water Competent?

Water competency is a way of improving water safety for yourself and those around you through avoiding common dangers, developing fundamental water safety skills to make you safer in and around the water, and knowing how to prevent and respond to drowning emergencies.