May is National Water Safety Month, here’s our checklist for a safe and fun summer

May 24, 2023

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May is National Water Safety Month and the Denver Health Trauma and Injury Prevention Program is promoting fun and safety in, on, and around the water for all ages and abilities this summer.

Preventing loss of life is something we talk a lot about within the trauma community, and water safety is no different. Every year in the U.S., more than 900 children drown, and drowning remains a leading cause of death amongst children.  

National Water Safety Month is an awareness campaign that focuses on safe practices in, on, and around the water and reducing injury while enjoying aquatic activities. Swimming and other water-related activities are increasingly popular this time of year, so it’s helpful to be reminded of safe water practices. 


Water Safety Checklist

Get ready for a fun and enjoyable swim season by using our water safety checklist and share it with others so we can all bring attention to water safety.

Learn to Swim! Surprisingly, more than 50% of Americans don’t have the basic swimming skills. Learning to swim is one of the most important ways to prevent water safety incidents. Equip your children (and yourself) with the skills they need to be safe and confident in and around the water. Studies show that participation by kids aged 1-4 years in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%. Check with your local YMCA facility or swim school for a list of upcoming classes and sign up!

  • Make it social! The water is more fun with friends! Always swim with a buddy. Don’t allow anyone to swim alone, even at pools with lifeguards. If you’re boating, be sure to go with a friend or two and always wear a life jacket.
  • Monitor children in and around water! Never leave a child unattended around the water. Appoint a responsible adult as the “Water Watcher” so children are always monitored. Stay within arm’s reach of little ones and stay focused on them. Remove toys from the water when the kids are not playing with them – toys can be a powerful attraction to inexperienced or untrained swimmers. Train children in safe practices such as walking – not running – at the pool. Always wear a life jacket in open water.
  • Educate yourself! Learn CPR and rescue breathing. Keep a life-saving ring, shepherd’s hook and CPR instructions mounted at poolside. If a child is missing, always check the pool first. Seconds count. Empty water in buckets or wading pools when you’re done using them.
  • Create a safe pool environment!  Pools should be fenced in (at least 60” tall, with a self-closing, self-latching gate.) Gates should open away from the pool and should never be propped open.


For additional information on water safety, please contact the injury prevention team at 303-602-7623 or

Missy Anderson is a nursing program manager for the Trauma team at Denver Health.