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The SPLASH program’s objective is to create a comprehensive, evidence-based program for children and families to prevent deaths and/or serious complications of submersion injuries through education, partnerships, and collaboration with the community.

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4.  Often times, this is due to children gaining unexpected access to water. With so many families staying home during the pandemic, we have seen a tragic increase in children drowning. For every child who dies from a drowning incident, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. Drownings are preventable and affect all people regardless of their background. Review the tips below and download a tip sheet to protect your family now.

  • Drowning is a leading cause of death for children, and continues to burden our local community
  • Create barriers between your child and the water
    • Close, lock, and alarm if possible, all doors that lead to water
  • Remove toys from any pool to avoid temptation
  • If you own inflatable pools, drain them after each use and store them upside down and out of reach
  • Always assign an adult to watch the water without any distractions (phones, books, or socializing with other adults)
  • EVERYONE should use Coast Guard approved life jackets when near open water or on boats or other watercraft
  • Many children drown when they were not expected to be in the water, so consider all of the possible hazards (bathtubs, buckets, ponds, creeks, etc,) for your family and take precautions now
  • Water Safety Tips Guide (English / Spanish)

Community Partners

The cornerstones of the SPLASH program are:

  • To create a comprehensive website with videos and educational resources for caregivers
  • To coordinate community events at local waterways to educate others about water safety
  • To provide and connect parents and caregivers with CPR instruction
  • To partner with local swim schools and aquatic professionals to provide swim lessons for both children and parents
  • To promote the use of a “water watcher” during social gatherings at or near water and provide water watcher tags to families in our communities
  • To partner with community liaisons to strengthen ordinances that require home owners and apartment complexes to build and maintain adequate fencing, pool alarms, and other barriers to water
  • Educate families how to create multiple layers of protection between their children and water
  • To provide emotional support during and after a drowning incident

Water Safety Tips

  • ALWAYS supervise children when they are in or around water
  • Teach children how to swim
  • Teach children about the unexpected aspect of open water, such as uneven surfaces, currents, undertow, and weather
  • Pay attention to signs at pools and open bodies of water
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • Close doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms, and close and lock toilets
  • Backyard pools should have self-closing, self-latching gates that are at least 4-feet tall
  • Install pool alarms
  • Have weak or non-swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets, and always wear a life jacket while boating
  • Learn CPR
  • Additional Water Safety Tips Guide (English / Spanish)

Drowning Statistics

  • Each year, over 3,000 children under the age of 14 died during 2005-2014 in non-boating related drowning incident, and over 300 people died in boating-related accidents each year. That is about 10 deaths per day.*
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-14.*
  • About half of all drowning incidents result in an emergency department visit.*


The Water Watcher Program was developed to encourage parents to better their supervision skills in and around water. At a large gathering at a residential pool or at a public pool, caregivers assume that someone is watching the children while they are in the pool. In reality, no one is. The Water Watcher Program assigns one responsible adult whose sole job is to watch the children while they are in the water. They will do this for about 15-20 minutes, then they may pass it off to another responsible adult. To indicate that you are a Water Watcher, you will wear a Water Watcher tag. A Water Watcher will be assigned even if a lifeguard is present.

A diligent Water Watcher will abide by the following:

  • They will NOT be on their phone
  • They will NOT be reading a book
  • They will NOT be talking to others
  • They will NOT be drinking any alcohol
  • They will be able to administer CPR in case of an emergency
  • They will scan the pool to ensure no dangerous activity is taking place and that all patrons are practice proper water safety skills