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Let’s talk about water safety

Safer3-306x285Water safety is our top priority. We want all of our swim families to be well educated and know what to do in an emergency. Fellow USSSA swim educator, Rose Cholewinski, who owns SwimAmerica Davis out of Davis, California, recently shared some great tips to keep in mind when spending family time around the water.

 “Just a moment sweetie!” How many times has your child asked for your attention and you’ve said, “just a sec” while you finish up another small task? As a local swim school owner, long-time swim coach and a parent, I assure you that when it comes to pools and water, you don’t have a “moment.” That’s because water emergencies happen quickly and quietly.

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children under 5, and in the majority of incidents, one or both parents was present. In 75% of drowning incidents, the child was missing for less than 5 minutes. Just a sec.

Summer is right around the corner and families will start to enjoy backyard and public pools as the weather warms. It’s never too soon – or too dry—to spend a moment on water safety.

Just like many other USSSA programs, SCSC teaches the Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation’s program, a multi-layered educational effort focused on the three primary areas of water safety: Safer Water, Safer People, and Safer Response.

  • “Safer Water” focuses on using fencing, gate latches, alarms and other safety equipment around pools and boats.
  • “Safer People” stresses the importance of having constant responsible adult supervision around the water and learning proper swim skills.
  • “Safer Response” addresses the importance of learning CPR, first aid and other rescue and emergency response techniques, as well as having a phone by the pool at all times.

What can you do?

Supervise Young Children at Arm’s Length

Young children and non-swimmers need to be supervised within arm’s length around all water – swimming pools, wading pools, lakes and rivers. What exactly is arm’s length? My arm measures about 2 and a half feet, so it means you are sticking very close to your child. And yes, it probably means that you will need to get in the pool. I encourage you to enjoy this time with your child! Swimming is fabulous family time – and probably one of the precious “unplugged” moments you have with your child these days.

Learn to Swim

You know that your child needs to learn how to swim to help be safer around water. Learning how to roll over and float, as well as to grab onto a wall, could one day save your child’s life. But do you also know how to swim? To be able to supervise your small child properly, you need to be able to get in the pool (and out) yourself. In 2012, a Sacramento father died trying (unsuccessfully) to save his toddler who’d fallen into a backyard pool. He didn’t know how to swim himself. Anyone responsible for your child around water needs to know how to swim – as does your child.

Designate a Water Watcher

Pool parties with minimal supervision can turn a fun gathering into a disastrous one very quickly. Never assume that party guests are paying attention to activity in the pool – even for just a moment. If the host hasn’t hired a trained lifeguard, we recommend a designated “Water Watcher” who will keep undivided attention on the pool. Rotating short Water Watcher shifts is a good way to share the responsibility and stay focused on a very important task.

There’s no worse feeling as a parent than turning around to realize your child is missing –whether it’s in a mall or near a swimming pool. Nothing can guarantee absolute safety, but if we all take a moment – just a sec – to focus on supervision and swim skills – we can make our families safer this summer and all-year long.

-Rose Cholewinski
Owner, SwimAmerica Davis

To learn more about SwimAmerica Davis and the ways they are providing year-round water safety, fun and fitness, visit their website at

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