Swimming Lessons, Schools,
Camps, and Day Care

I'm hearing more and more from caregivers who are taking this course as a requirement for taking day care and summer camp participants to public swimming pools and waterfronts. It's wonderful that so many people are learning about swimming pool safety, but I want to be very clear about supervising groups of children at a public pool or waterfront. 
Just don't do it!
Have a minimum 15' swim test and allow only those who can swim to participate in the group swimming activity. Non-swimmers belong in lessons or in one-on-one play sessions with an adult. If you can't provide lessons or one-on-one supervision for non-swimmers provide an alternate activity.
In the Learn to Swim section of this course you learned how the use of life jackets and other flotation devices dramatically increase the time it takes to learn how to swim. Don't burden and put at risk those in your charge by putting them in life jackets and allowing them to participate in an activity for which they are not ready. Keep them dry and safe until they learn to swim.


I recommend that you do not let your non-swimming child be out of your sight in the swimming pool...ever. Until your child learns to swim, you should not leave the spectator area of swimming lessons to get a coffee, or use the phone, or run an errand. Keep your non-swimming child in your sight at all times - even when they are under the supervision of the swimming instructor. If your non-swimming child is in or near the water there is a very real need to protect her from drowning.

Once your child learns to swim, you can use that time for errands while a swimming child has a lesson or swim team practice. If there is swimming offered at day care, school, or camp, and you cannot be there to watch your non-swimming child, do not let your child participate. Make time for lessons when you can be present to ensure your child's safety in the water. Never allow a babysitter to take your non-swimming child to the pool - even if the pool is in your own back yard. Teach your child to swim first.

How do you know if your child knows how to swim well enough to be in the care of someone else?  Can he/she S.W.I.M.?  Review the Learn-to-swim section of this course.

A skilled swimmer can have lots of fun and develop stronger swimming skills by participating in group swimming activities. However, no one is ever drown-proof or water-safe. An important lesson to teach your children is, “If you see something, say something!” Sometimes swimmers in a pool have seen another swimmer in distress and not reported it, with tragic results. It’s never to early to learn to watch out for each other in this world.

Memorize these two keys to drowning prevention.



December 5, 2018: Family Awarded 21.5 Million in Case of Drowning 6-Year-Old

From the article: The 6-year-old was under the care of counselors at the “Fun in the Sun” camp program.

Court documents show the boy did not know how to swim, and camp counselors were aware.

“He ends up on the bottom of the pool, with his head underwater in a vertical position for nine minutes and 20 seconds,” said Duda family attorney Brad Cosgrove.

Do not take a group that includes non-swimmers to a pool, lake, river, or beach.
— Water Safety Education for Parents & Caregivers

May 9, 2018: Boy, 15, dies after being found in Bay Area high school swimming pool

From the article: Witnesses said the teenager was discovered at the bottom of the pool during a physical education class. A staff member jumped in to pull him out and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation but the teen was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

It wasn't immediately clear how long the boy had been in the pool. His death is under investigation.

April 11, 2018: Parents of camper who drown hope charges hope charges send strong message

From the article: Kamau was attending the final day of Camp Cricket summer day camp when he disappeared after lunch. The 13 campers in his group, accompanied by three camp staff members, had been allowed to splash in shallow water, according to investigators.

But Kamau somehow wandered away unnoticed by the adults with his group. After he was noticed missing, it took another half-hour to locate him in the water. He was unresponsive and later died at the hospital.