In 2010, the AAP updated its guidelines to accept water safety lessons as a layer of protection for families to reduce the risk of drowning. The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona launched Water SMART Babies in 2011 to help healthcare providers present comprehensive water safety education that includes supervision, barriers and classes to parents simply and easily.
Water SMART Babies was originally developed in Broward County, Florida, where an 87% reduction in drowning was achieved in its first year of implementation. In Maricopa County, this program has been piloted in 24 pediatricians’ offices, and has been found to be a useful tool to help make families safer by combining child and parent water safety education.
Parental involvement is the most important factor in helping prevent, prepare for and cope with emergencies. The program provides useful tools to help make children water safe and Water SMART (Safety Methods and Rescue Techniques).
Through Water SMART Babies, pediatricians have the perfect opportunity to discuss water safety with the parents of their 9- to 12-month old patients. Healthcare providers write out a prescription for water safety classes. The parents are also given the Water SMART Babies handbook, which includes tips on home water safety, CPR information, and safety device options, such as pool fencing, door and pool alarms. As the child visits the pediatrician in subsequent months, healthcare providers follow up to make sure the family is getting their home equipped with the layers of protection and the child is participating in water safety lessons. This partnership underscores the healthcare providers’ role in educating families to decrease preventable fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents.
On our site, parents can find a number of CPR providers and organizations offering swim classes. Families can also make a simple phone call to Community Information and Referral to get the listings, 602-263-8856 or 800-352-3792 from area codes 520 and 928.
To learn more about water safety education and how the methods we support can aid in the cognitive, physical and emotional development of the child, read the DPCA position paper.
This program was originated by Broward County (Florida) Drowning Prevention Task Force.
In Arizona, the Water SMART Babies would not be possible without the generous support of time and money of our Drowning Prevention Coalition members. A special thanks to the participating agencies that helped build the program pilot for the DPCA:
- Arizona Department of Health Services
- Banner Health Systems
- Cardon Children’s Medical Center
- Blake’s Miracle
- Hubbard Swim School
- Infant Swimming Resources, Inc.
- Scottsdale Healthcare
- SRP Safety Connection
Pediatricians: Your feedback about Water SMART Babies and materials will help us improve the program. Please click here to fill out the survey and share your thoughts.
Parents/Families: We hope that this program will help prevent drowning and be a positive experience for you. Please provide your thoughts about the Water SMART Babies program by filling out this 4 question survey (click here).