At British Swim School, our program prioritizes water safety and survival. One way we support this is through a one-of-a-kind safety training called Survival Week. During Survival Week, we continue to work on survival skills during the lessons, but students learn to do all these skills while wearing clothing. The reality is that when a water accident/drowning incident happens, people are not wearing their bathing suit and goggles. We want everyone to experience this feeling in a controlled environment to decrease the panic and practice what to do should it ever happen outside of our lessons. Survival Week occurs several times throughout the year and while our students understand that this is a potentially life-saving learning experience, we also make it fun, which we know improves knowledge retention!
In continued support of our swim families and our mission to protect every life from drowning, we chose to conduct Survival Week virtually during our temporary closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak, as we remain committed to water safety through education and water safety awareness. Throughout our virtual Survival Week, five of our highly trained Instructors each discuss an important water safety topic.
Watch Children In and Around Water
Always watch children closely when they’re in or around the water, no matter how confident you are in their swimming skills. Even kids who know how to swim can be at risk for drowning, so it’s important to be alert. One second alone in the water is a second too many!
When children are swimming, there should always be a Water Watcher on duty–an adult whose only job is to watch the pool. No talking on the phone, playing cards, or reading a book! That said, make sure a phone is charged and available in case of an emergency. Use a Water Watcher badge help you and your friends take turns supervising your kids. Download a Water Watcher badge here!
Safeguard Pools and Other Household Hazards
Backyard swimming pools, bathtubs and other water sources are fun, but they can also be dangerous. The threat of drowning can happen in mere seconds and is often completely silent. To keep your children safe in and around the water, safeguard pools and other household hazards!
Children are drawn to the water and you should take safety precautions to keep him or her away. If you have a backyard pool, install a four-sided isolation fence, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates that completely surrounds the pool and prevents direct access from the house and yard. Never prop the gate open or leave chairs, tables or kids’ toys near the gate that a child could use to climb over it. Also, invest in pool and gate alarms to alert you when a child goes near the water!
Learn and Practice Lifesaving Skills
Anywhere there is water there is risk of drowning, especially for children. It’s always best to be prepared in case of an unexpected incident. Know the basics of swimming (floating, moving through water), learn CPR procedures, and keep a first aid kit readily available. It’s important to understand the basics of lifesaving so you can assist in an emergency. Classes are available through American Red Cross and many other nonprofit organizations.
Lifejacket Safety Saves Lives
Life jackets save lives! Small children and inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets any time they’re near water, including at pools or water parks, and everyone should wear life jackets when near oceans and open bodies of water.
There are many types of life jackets and it’s important to check that you have the right type for the activity. Make sure the life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved and check the label for intended weight and size measurements to ensure it fits the intended user. Check buckles and straps for intended function and discard any lift jacket with torn fabric or loose straps. Once the life jacket has been inspected, put it on and practice swimming in it before engaging in water activities.
Review Emergency and Lifesaving Procedures
With social distancing in full swing during the COVID-19 outbreak, adults and children may be engaging in more water-based activities, such as boating, canoeing and even exploring creeks and rivers. While this is a great way to stay busy and remain active, we strongly encourage everyone to educate themselves on water safety–not just in pools but during water activities in all bodies of water! After all, water safety will remain equally as important when life returns to normal!
Continue Learning About Water Safety
We encourage everyone to continue learning about water safety and begin implementing these procedures immediately. No single procedure can guarantee safety, but together–as part of a holistic water safety plan–these actions can help to reduce the risk of drowning related death and disability. Visit our water safety page to check out our water safety tips and download our Safety Tips brochure!