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Course Outline

Some of the common causes of drowning are listed here. For each cause, one or more solutions for trying to prevent drowning are given.

Having weak or nonexistent swimming skills

Persons who have weak or nonexistent swimming skills should take formal swimming lessons and learn to swim from organizations like the American Red Cross and YMCA.

Lacking a separation barrier

Solutions for this cause include:

  • Looking around your community to see how many pools have a physical barrier surrounding them to prevent access. Many municipalities have guidelines for the installation of above and in-ground swimming pools. This would include fencing (design, height, bar width, gates, and latches). Unfortunately, the same may not apply to inflatable and kiddie pools that can be purchased from a retailer and immediately set up in a backyard.
  • Having additional safety items for pools and spas. Safety items include alarms, pool safety covers, an immediately accessible phone, and water safety equipment (reaching or throwing devices).

Swimming in unsupervised areas

Swimmers should always be supervised. The potential unsupervised sites are limitless (pools, ponds, streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans). Other locations include areas around a home (bath and hot tubs, toilet), water containers (drums, large buckets), fountains, and anything that can collect and hold water.

Failing to wear a personal flotation device (life jacket)

Everyone should wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved personal flotation device (PFD). U.S. Coast Guard statistics document that approximately 85% of boating accident victims who drown were NOT wearing a PFD.

Not recognizing what a drowning victim looks like

You should learn what the instinctive drowning response individual looks like in the water.

Child reaching for toy in pool
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