Practice: Touch Supervision, Designated Water Watcher

Of course, we’ve already discussed the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s “layers of protection,” and now it’s time for us to explore touch supervision and the role of the designated water watcher.

Together, we can prevent drownings worldwide. You just have to follow a few steps. (Check out Banner Health’s comprehensive check list here.)

Touch Supervision

Drowning is silent. As a swim instructor with over eight years of experience, I can’t tell you how many times parents have told me about the close calls they’ve had in the family pool. It happens all the time! You look down to answer a text, or turn your head to talk to a friend, and in just a few seconds, your little one could be struggling under water without a sound. After about four minutes, permanent brain damage occurs, and death can occur as soon as four to six minutes. Never leave your child’s side around water.

To keep your kids safe at all times, you must practice touch supervision. This means you should be only an arm’s length away from your children at all times, around any open water. (That means pools, lakes, bathtubs, etc.) After all, if your kid slips under the water, the fastest way to get them out is to grab them!

Please, take a look at the video below. Even though the infant is wearing a life jacket, he could have drowned without the immediate help from his dad.

The Designated Water Watcher

Whether you are at home, a family barbecue or a friend’s pool, it’s vitally important to have a designated water watcher. This person needs to constantly have their eyes on the children in the water. Give them a wristband with a whistle on it, like this one. If they need to take a break, be absolutely certain to pass the whistle and the duty to another vigilant person who knows exactly what he or she needs to do!

The Mesa Fire and Medical Department made an informative video of what it means to be a designated water watcher. Check it out, and be sure to embrace the steps they outline. Although the thumbnail depicts a child in floaties, the video clearly states that wearing floaties is an unsafe practice, as it provides the child with a false sense of confidence. 

Do you have a testimony of how touch supervision or a designated water watcher saved your child’s life? Please leave a comment below.

Sarah has taught swim lessons with us for over eight years. This is a photo from her daughter, Rylee's, first lesson!

Sarah has been an instructor with us for over eight years. This is a photo from her daughter’s first swim lesson!

2 thoughts on “Practice: Touch Supervision, Designated Water Watcher

  1. Pingback: Pool Floaties Are Unsafe, with Instructor Sarah | SWIMkids USA Blog

  2. Pingback: Do you know your ABCs? | SWIMkids USA Blog

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