SAFER Swimming

The Five Steps to SAFER Swimming

Swimming Skills

We know that “to swim well is an asset for life,” and having good swimming skills are vital for children to stay safe in and around water. Learning to swim well and knowing water safety skills could save a life.

Swimming lessons teach lifesaving skills, like floating, submersions, turn around swims and correct stroke technique. Practicing swimming without goggles or floaties can help prepare children in case of emergency.

Adult Supervision

All kids need to be supervised in and around water, regardless of their swimming ability. Active adult supervision means:

  • maintaining constant visual contact
  • being within arms reach of non-swimmers and under 5s
  • not being distracted by anything, like phones or doorbells
  • being ready and able to respond quickly

Designate a water watcher – an accompanying adult who is known by both children and other adults to be supervising.The adults who are supervising must be vigilant water watchers, and must never leave their ‘post’ until replaced by another competent supervisor. 

Fences and Gates

Barriers lessen the chances of children accessing a water hazard. Pools must be fully isolated from the house with compliant fencing, including the use of self-closing and self-latching gates. Fencing should be checked regularly to ensure that they remain in good, working order. Make sure there are no items that could be used to climb the fence and that the gate stays closed and locked. 

Emergency Plan

Having an emergency plan can save a life. Every second counts in drownings, so check the pool first! You should:

  • teach kids to get an adult immediately
  • learn CPR through an accredited provider and, if in doubt, start chest compressions
  • update your emergency signage around the pool
  • in case of emergency, dial 000 

Reduce the Risk

By following the layers of protection, you can reduce the risk of drowning and be SAFER. Used together, these layers maximise child safety near water. If one measure ‘fails’, there is another behind it that may save a life. 

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