Drowning Prevention & Water Safety



In Oregon, drowning deaths most often occur in warm months.  What makes Oregon unique is the frequency of drowning deaths in water bodies fed by snowmelt which includes most cold-running rivers found in the state. Between 2012 – 2014 in Oregon, 38 children ages 0 – 19 drowned and 37 were hospitalized.


In addition, a recent study found that 34% of drowning deaths in Oregon children 15 years of age and younger occurred in swimming pools.  Children under 3 years of age are 6 times more likely to drown in a swimming pool.


Safe Kids Oregon promotes the wearing of personal flotation devices (PFDs) in non-motorized water craft and for non-boating recreation such as swimming and playing in rivers and lakes and pools, for both children and adults.  Safe Kids Oregon also encourages all families to enroll children in swimming lessons.  Swim lessons will teach children how to tread water, float and stay by the shore.


Active supervision of children in and around water bodies is an extremely important factor in preventing drowning fatalities. Active supervision is defined as constantly keeping eyes on a child, without distractions such as answering the phone, talking, reading a book.


Water Watcher Card


The Water Watcher Card is a tool developed to encourage active supervision whenever children are in or near water.  The Water Watcher Card designates who has the responsibility for watching the children.  Adults agree to share this responsibility and pass the Water Watcher Card within designated time periods, such as every 15 minutes, to ensure that someone is actively supervising all children in or near water.


Pool Safely Pledge


The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched their new pool safety pledge, an online commitment to water safety that the CPSC is asking every adult and child in America to take this summer. The Pledge is designed to commit the American public to being safe in and around the water this year. It will serve as a visual reminder of the safety steps everyone should use with their families every time they are near the water, as well as an opportunity for them to pass on these messages to their friends and family via social media.


Safe Kids Facts and Research


Water Safety Fact Sheet 2013





Safe Kids Worldwide Website on Drowning Prevention and Water Safety


Water Safety at Home Tips  


Swimming Safety Tips


US Army Corps of Engineers Water Safety Scroll down for Life Jacket Loaner Station Information


Community Water Recreation Checklist – designed to help assess water safety within a community (e.g. neighborhood, town, city, district, or county).  The check list can help identify existing water recreation safety measures and identify actions to improve water recreation safety in a community.


Swim Area Safety Checklist – designed to help assess water safety at a specific site on a body of water.  The Checklist can help identify existing safety measures and actions to improve water safety at the site.


Oregon Law


No person shall operate a boat on Oregon waters with a child age 12 and under unless the child is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD)/life jacket while the boat is underway.




Safe Kids Oregon works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Safe Kids Oregon is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Oregon was founded in 1995 and is proudly led by Oregon Child Development Coalition.


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