Drowning Prevention

Water can be dangerous!
  • Playing in the water is lots of fun, but always remember –
    water can be dangerous!
A person can drown:
  • In small amounts of water:
    • A bath tub
    • A shallow pool
    • A bucket
    • A trench or ditch
  • When other people are around
  • Quietly… without yelling or splashing
  • Quickly… in just seconds
Even if someone survives after nearly drowning:
  • They may still suffer serious health problems: 
    • Brain damage
    • Memory problems
    • Breathing problems
    • Loss of movement
Who is most at risk of drowning?
  • Men
  • Infants and children under age 5
  • Teenagers (especially boys)
  • People with seizure disorders
  • People with disabilities that:
    • Limit movement
    • Make it hard to notice danger
Most drownings happen when people:
  • Swim in pools, lakes or the ocean without someone constantly watching
  • Drinking alcohol while playing near water
  • Go out in a boat or raft without a life jacket
  • Leave someone who has seizures or who can’t support themselves (including babies) alone in a bathtub
How can you keep from drowning?
  • Never swim alone. 
    • Use the buddy system. 
    • Always swim with a friend!
    • Always know where your buddy is.
  • Only swim in areas where:
    • A lifeguard or experienced swimmers are watching
    • It says it is safe to swim - Look for ropes or signs
  • Never dive into water if you don’t know how deep it is! Go in slowly.
  • Never swim after drinking alcohol.

Wear a life jacket!
  • Always wear a life jacket at the pool, the beach or on a boat. Make sure it fits!
    • The size should be on the inside of the jacket.
  • Test the fit of your life jacket.
    • Lift your arms straight up above your head. 
    • Turn your head to the right and to the left. 
    • The chest portion of the jacket should not touch your chin when you turn your head.
Stay safe at the beach.
  • The beach can be fun, but the ocean is not like a swimming pool! 
  • The ocean is unpredictable.  Waves and currents can be dangerous.
  • Look for signs that say:
    • If it is safe to swim.
    • Where it is safe to swim.
  • Check what the weather will be like before you go.
Stay safe at the beach.
  • "Sneaker" waves can be dangerous.
  • Sneaker waves are bigger than normal waves. They can pull people into the water without warning.
  • Protect yourself from  sneaker waves.
    • Always have someone with you.
    • Always watch for the next wave.
How can you tell if someone else is drowning?
  • When someone is drowning they are just trying to breathe.  They may:
    • Not be able to call for help
    • Not be splashing
  • There are some signs to watch for. A person who is drowning may:
    • Have their head tilted back
Be looking around for help
If you think someone is drowning, act quickly!
  • Tell other people and call 9-1-1.
  • Tell the person to stay calm, look at you and kick their feet.
  • Throw them a floating object (a life preserver or cushion).
If someone is drowning, DON’T go in the water yourself.
  • You can help only if you stay safe! flotation device
  • You may get hurt by going into the water to help someone.
  • They may pull you underwater, too.
  • There may be dangerous waves or currents in the water, even if you can’t see them from the shore.
  • Only a trained and certified lifeguard should go in the water to help a drowning victim.
Drowning can happen at home.
  • Many drowning accidents happen in the bathtub.
  • If you have seizures or if it’s hard for you to take a bath, don’t be shy… ask for help!
  • Never leave a child or person who can’t support themselves alone in the bathtub.
  • If there is a pool where you live, make sure it’s fenced in and keep the gate locked.
Learn more about water safety and drowning prevention: