Summertime is when many activities and family events take place outside and in or near the water. But too often, fun time turns tragic for families across the nation. Every year in the United States there are an estimated 3,960* fatal, unintentional drownings; including boating-related drowning—that is an average of 11 drowning deaths per day. As we reflect on water safety month and summer kicks off in full force, it’s a perfect time to review why we have a month dedicated to safe water practices. Education and prevention are vital in keeping children and adults safe. Local government parks and recreation departments, as local outdoor safety experts, have a responsibility to use their platform to keep water safety at the forefront of their minds during the busy summer months.
To support your education efforts, we’re providing four tips for promoting water safety best practices to your community:
1. Plan Live Learning Events
Utilize your community aquatics facilities and existing programming, such as swimming lessons or clubs, to host live learning events; building individual and family awareness of the risks involved with swimming in any setting. Create content relevant for parents, teens, and young children, and consider pairing it with a basic first aid and CPR course. Also, make sure your programming is inclusive by tailoring it to address the specific safety needs of adults and children living with auditory, visual, and other physical disabilities.
Topics to Cover
If you need a few ideas on subjects to cover in your live events, learning materials, or educational resources, consider the following:
- How to recognize drowning and the best way to call for help if you’re struggling in the water
- Home pool safety and the need for constant supervision of inexperienced swimmers
- The importance and proper use of life jackets
- Natural bodies of water and threats, such as rip currents or other natural environmental risks
- Proper emergency response actions
2. Utilize Social Media to Provide Regular Water Safety Reminders
Use your social media platform and network of followers to provide regular reminders about water safety. To make a greater impact, leverage dynamic content, host live streams or create pre-recorded videos you can share with your followers. Ask local influencers and public figures to share safety messages on their profiles as well. Coordinate with staff to create fun, practical, and educational videos at the local lake, water park, and other locations. Share them with your residents on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
3. Partnerships and Promotions
Utilize other digital communication tools in addition to social media to keep water safety at the forefront of residents’ minds throughout the summer. Emails, posters, and appearances on local television and news programs are all opportunities to amplify the reach of your message. Partner with local experts, such as community swim instructors or your local fire department, and leverage their authority to strengthen the impact of your message.
4. When it Comes to Water Safety, Knowledge is Power
A person can drown in less than 60 seconds. The more you can do to keep your public informed of the dangers of drowning and the importance of proper water safety measures and education, the safer you’ll be as an entire community. Provide plenty of learning opportunities and materials year-round, and target additional focus during the busiest swimming seasons.