Lesson 6

Water Safety


Lesson Goal:

To encourage participants to utilize water safety rules.


Lesson Objectives:

  • Name at least three water safety rules.
  • Understand the difference between a personal flotation device and water toys.
  • Describe things that could be dangerous while swimming.


Content Standards Addressed:

Common Core State Standards

National Standards


According to statistics from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the National Safety Council, "approximately 15 percent of children admitted to hospitals for near-drowning die, while another 20 percent will suffer severe and permanent brain damage." Drowning or near drowning occurs in several different places, some of which include hot tubs, buckets, bathtubs, lakes and swimming pools. Teaching children how to swim and use safety devices correctly helps prevent these statistics from rising.


Some of the most important points to consider when talking to children about water safety include:

  • Never swim if you are too tired, too cold or too far from safety. If you have had too much sun or have had too much strenuous activity that day, don't swim.
  • Be aware of the weather conditions. Never swim if a storm is approaching.
  • Take a swimming class if you are not comfortable with your swimming skills.
  • Learn basic first aid so you know how to deal with any dangerous situation that may arise while swimming.
  • Only swim in designated swimming areas.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Never dive into shallow water.
  • Read all water rules posted in the area and follow them.
  • Be careful. Do not run or push others near water.
  • Only swim if a lifeguard is on duty at a beach, water park or swimming pool.
  • Swimming toys should not be used as safety devices, because they are not designed to save lives. 
  • Always wear a personal flotation device such as a life jacket, especially when you are participating in water sports such as boating, windsurfing or jet skiing. This is the only safe and reliable flotation device.
  • Do not swim in dirty water. You may not see things that could be dangerous.
  • Never drink water from a pool, lake or ocean. There may be harmful bacteria in the water.
  • Always wear a waterproof sunscreen if swimming outdoors, and reapply it if you are out for long periods of time.
  • If swimming in a lake or ocean, beware of currents (the portion of a stream or body of water which is moving with a force much greater than the rest of the water) and drop-offs (areas in a body of water where the bottom suddenly becomes much deeper).
  • Beware of animals that could be dangerous in certain bodies of water, like jellyfish, snakes, etc.
  • Remain seated at all times while in a boat.



Commercial Power

1. Have kids break into groups and list safety rules and ways to prevent swimming accidents from happening.

2. Encourage each group to determine what is the most important rule or prevention measure, and create a 30-second commercial promoting the importance of that rule.

3. Present the commercial to the class.


Reproducible: Swimming Safety Mystery

1. Provide a copy of the reproducible to each student.

2. Use the key to make up swimming rules for others to follow based on water safety rules discussed.

3. Once each student has developed three mystery statements, have students exchange paper to solve the codes.


Swimming Pictionary

1. Break the students into teams of four or an even amount for your group.

2. Explain these rules to the students:

  • Each team will have a turn to draw pictures that represent the words on the cards.
  • Participants may not speak or write words to help their teammates guess the card. They may only draw pictures.
  • Each team is allowed 2 minutes to draw and guess the answer.
  • They may hold up fingers to tell their teammates how many words are on the card.
  • The game is played until a team reaches 5 correctly guessed cards.
  • In the event of a tie, the two teams play until one loses.
  • If another team yells out the answer, the team playing that round gets the point.

Cards (Write these words on index cards.)

  • Life jacket
  • Swimming buddy
  • Sunscreen
  • Fence
  • Water currents
  • Deep spots
  • Dirty water
  • Lifeguard
  • Warning flags
  • Floating
  • Diving
  • Swimming toys
  • Swimming suit
  • Boats
  • Water parks
  • Lifesaver Ring
  • Goggles
  • Water sports
  • Fish

Leader's Fast Facts:

1. Air-filled swimming aids, such as inner tubes and inflatable rafts are not PFDs (personal floatation devices).

2. The four main causes of drowning are:

  • Not wearing a life jacket.
  • Abuse of alcohol.
  • Lack of sufficient swimming skills.
  • Hypothermia.

3. According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, children are more at risk of drowning during July than any other month during the year.


Additional Resources:

A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe Around Water. By Maribeth Boelts. PowerKids Press, 1997.

Water Safety. By Nancy Loewen. The Child's World, Inc., 1997.

No Pushing No Ducking. By Barbara Rinkoff. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company, 1974.

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety - The American Red Cross has an interactive zone for children to learn more about water safety.