Safety Basics

Drowning causes thousands of deaths and permanent brain injuries every year. Babies and toddlers are most at risk for drowning, but it could happen to anyone. There are things you can do to lower the risk of drowning.

Here are ways to be safer, from the Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control:

  • Supervise children in or near water. There should be a responsible adult watching kids when they are swimming or in the tub. The supervisor should be close enough to preschool-age children to be able to grab them out of the water at any time.
  • Don't get distracted. Drowning often happens quietly and quickly. If you are in charge of a child's safety while they swim, don't be distracted by texts, games, or other activities. Do not let someone who is not sober supervise kids. 
  • Use the buddy system. Do not swim alone. Try to swim where there is a lifeguard on duty.
  • Stay sober. Do not swim, boat, or supervise children if you are not sober.
  • Learn to swim. Taking formal swimming lessons reduces your risk of drowning.
  • Know your limits. Don't swim out further than you can comfortably swim back. Swimming in lakes, rivers, or oceans takes more strength than swimming in a pool.
  • Watch the weather. Lightning strikes and rough winds are dangerous when you're in water.
  • Wear a life jacket. Pool Noodles, water wings, and other inflatable toys aren't enough.

Learn more about water safety from Seattle Children's Hospital

Learn to Swim

Swimming lessons significantly reduce your risk of drowning. Many families don't take swimming lessons because they are too expensive or they can't find classes that work for their needs or schedule. There may be more options for swimming lessons than you think.

Many pools or other local organizations offer scholarships for lessons. There may be swim instructors that speak your language or work with children with special needs. If you're interested in local swimming lessons that work for you, and you're a CHPW member, you can call customer service and ask for Community Linkages. The Community Linkages team will listen to what you need and work to find options for you in your community.  

Call Customer Service to get connected to Community Linkages.

Wear a Life Jacket

The Red Cross says all children, inexperienced swimmers, and boaters should wear a life jacket. The life jacket should fit well and be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Many park districts will loan out life jackets for free. Find free life jacket rentals: PDF   |   Map 

Get 25% off of life jackets at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Washington and Northern Idaho until September 30, 2019.