One of the surest ways to improve water safety is to have a responsible adult who is focused on watching kids who are at play in or near a pool, lake or other water. In almost all cases when families and friends go swimming, there is an adult present.
But because of the comings and goings of kids and adults, and the distractions common to a fun day at the waterside, sometimes people lose track of who is on duty to watch—an adult may tell another person they are leaving the area, but the message might not be received. Or two parents may each assume the other has the duty.
A simple solution is a Water Watcher token—some physical object that can be passed from person to person and clearly designates who is on task to watch the swimmers. Because it is an object, it requires contact and understanding between the giver and recipient. If a person has the token, they must remain present and alert until they pass it off to another person.
The Water Watcher identifier should be clearly marked and highly visible, and large enough that it won’t disappear into a pocket. Consider downloading, printing and cutting out the attached tag—downloadable here—and put it in a standard clear plastic card holder on a lanyard (available at any office supply store.) Or make your own—ideas include:
- A painted wooden dowel on a string with a clip
- A stretchy rubber bracelet with a tag attached
- A plastic card on a carabiner that can be clipped to a belt loop
If you don’t have an “official” Water Watcher object, you can still put it into practice—find a hat, rock, or really anything you can hand off as a physical reminder of who’s up.
Whatever you decide on, the most important thing is that you use it. Introduce all the adults at your next water gathering to the idea, agree to follow the rules, and enjoy a fun, safe day out!