The Water Watcher Whistle Program reminds parents that active supervision is key to keeping children safe in the water.
Just because there are adults near the water doesn’t mean that someone is watching the kids.
Active supervision by an adult, not just the presence of an adult, is one of the single-most important precautions to keeping children safe in the water. “When everyone thinks they are watching the kids in the pool, no one is,” notes Melissa Krall, Director of Community Outreach at REMSA.
To stress the importance of water safety, REMSA and Safe Kids Washoe County have been promoting the Water Watcher Whistle Program since 2001, which educates parents on the importance of watching children while they are in the water.
The Water Watcher Whistle Program maintains an active presence in the community and chooses partners — including the City of Sparks Parks, Marine Specialties, Little Ones Swim and Silver Bear Swim — that directly reach caregivers and can thus pass along water safety information.
Each of the partners distributes a whistle and a water safety handout to every parent who enrolls a child in swim lessons or purchases boating equipment. “The Water Watcher Whistle provides a tool and a tangible reminder to actively pay attention,” says Melissa.
The way it works is simple: “The adult assigned the whistle is responsible for actively supervising the kids for a specific time period — 10 to 15 minutes, for example. Sharing the task among adults ensures that someone is always watching the kids and everyone gets a chance to relax by the water.
Thanks to a grant from AAA for their October feature Rescuer Award, the Water Watcher Whistle Program bumped was able to increase the number of whistles produced and distributed this season to 2,000.
Parents can pick up a whistle at 400 Edison Way, Suite A. To learn more, visit Safe Kids Washoe County.