Visual Supervision

Drowning is fast and silent. Assign an adult to watch children around water and learn how to recognize a swimmer in trouble.

The Basics

  • Learn how to recognize a swimmer in trouble. (see videos)
  • Assign an adult Water Guardian whose only responsibility is to watch children who are in, near, or around water.
  • If the assigned adult Water Guardian needs a break, the responsibility of watching the children must be assumed by another adult Water Guardian.
  • The role of an adult Water Guardian differs from that of a lifeguard. The Water Guardian’s role is to watch and PREVENT emergencies. A lifeguard is trained to rescue in the event of an emergency.
  • Teach children who cannot swim to stay away from water unless accompanied by a qualified adult. A qualified adult knows how to swim, stays within arm’s reach of the child, and maintains eye to eye contact with the child.
  • Wear the Colin’s Hope Water Guardian badge as a physical reminder that you are on duty.
  • Have a phone available for emergencies. Do not talk, text or surf the internet while you on Water Guardian duty!


Action Items

Dive Deeper

  • According to a study conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), most children who drowned in home pools were out of sight for fewer than five minutes. One or both parents were caring for them at the time.
  • Lifeguards undergo professional training to learn to rescue distressed swimmers. Their duties do not include babysitting patrons of the pool or body of water. The Lifeguard’s role is to RESPOND to emergencies.
  • Infographic: Chain of Drowning Survival (American Red Cross)
  • Infographic: Circle of Drowning Prevention (American Red Cross)
  • Link: NDPA’s “No More Drown” YouTube Channel (National Drowning Prevention Alliance)
  • Link: Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts (CDC)
  • Link to American Red Cross: Tips for Water Safety (American Red Cross)

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First-Hand Stories

Colin's StoryStewart Leonard III, Age 21 mos.
Next: Learn To Swim