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When everyone is watching, no one is watching...

88% of children who drowned had at least one adult present. That's right...most kids have an adult with them, and drowning is still a risk. Doesn't make sense, right? The problem, especially in large groups like a pool party, is that everyone assumes someone else is watching the kids. It's called diffusion of responsibility, and it's a natural group behavior we should all be aware of. Luckily, we can take steps to avoid it...by assigning a WATER WATCHER!


A water watcher is important for pool safety because it ensures that someone is actively supervising the swimmers at all times. Drowning can occur quickly and silently, and with no one paying attention, it can easily go unnoticed...especially when kids are actively playing water games.

The water watcher can help prevent accidents by being vigilant and focusing solely on watching the pool and its occupants. This person is specifically designated to watch the pool without distraction. They aren't cooking on the grill, using their phone, or having conversations with other party goers. They are the official lifeguard for that block of time.

Did you know that lifeguards rotate positions every 30 minutes and take breaks? The same goes for the water watchers. Rotate the job between friends and family, so they can stay alert, but everyone has a chance to join the fun. You can even have a Water Watcher Tag or other symbol to show who is the designated water watcher for that block of time. You can get the kids involved by having them make a creative tag for you!


Now for more of the statistics we don't want to hear...

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children aged 1-4 years and the second leading cause of injury death among children aged 5-14 years in the United States. These can occur in a variety of settings, including swimming pools, lakes, rivers, and oceans, all the places we like to gather and have fun.

In Texas, drowning is a significant public health concern. We all love going to the beach, or the lake. Who doesn't like a weekend in Galveston? But we need to be aware of the dangers, too. According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, there were 76 fatal drownings in Texas in 2022, with the highest number of deaths occurring in the summer months. Additionally, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children aged 1-4 years in Texas.

By assigning a water watcher, pool owners can take an important step in promoting pool safety and preventing drowning accidents. It is important for water watchers to remain vigilant and focused on their task at all times, and to avoid distractions such as phone use or engaging in other activities while on duty.


icon-howeyWritten by Howey the Dolphin, Water Safety Expert, Houston Swim Club

May 12, 2023
"Water Safety" 

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