IWSD Classroom Resources

Celebrating International Water Safety Day in the Classroom

Developed by Diversity in Aquatics, American Red Cross with resources from Pool Safely and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The purpose of this document is to invite school districts, community groups and individuals to learn about water safety in a classroom setting. This resource guide provides directions on how schools on the local, state and national level can all promote water safety in the classroom without the need for a pool. It also connects the school to local American Red Cross Centennial Campaign partners, and Pool Safely partners to further their water safety education.

  1. Contact a leader in your school district, either a Superintendent, Health and PE Coordinator or Principal for approval of the lesson 
  2. Send out a “KIT” Keep in Touch message to the community about the school's participation in International Water Safety Day
  3. Share with stakeholders the CDC fact sheet and statistics about unintentional drowning
    1. Why the school district is participating
    2. Objectives and Goals of the program
  4. Distribute the Water Safety Day lesson plan filled with resources and messages about water safety education throughout the district to your school leaders and Health/Physical Education Departments
  5. Issue a Press Release to the community about the efforts done to increase water safety education


Additional Ideas for International Water Safety Day:

In addition to the lesson provided above the American Red Cross, Diversity in Aquatics and Pool Safely have the following suggestions on increasing knowledge about water safety and drowning prevention at your school on International Water Safety Day on May 15th.


  1. Have the local school Student Government Association (SGA) read information about Water Safety or create a PSA using the International Water Safety Day Announcement on the day.
  2. Have a door decorating or poster contest judged by local businesses, organizations and safety professionals
  3. Wear blue, lifejackets or aquatic gear for water safety “spirit day” at the school and share on the district or school website and social media outlets using designated hashtags #iwsd
  4. Have an exploration day in the cafeteria with aquatic professionals at stations promoting water safety education and other aquatic related opportunities
  5. Ask a local American Red Cross provider to be a guest speaker and bring along Longfellow Whale mascot, if available)
  6. Invite your local media outlets to come to your school and showcase International Water Safety Day

Have your class create an app, YouTube video or marketing campaign for the community promoting water safety 

Drowning Statistics as stated on the CDC Website Fact Sheet 

  • Males: Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male
  • Children: Children ages 1 to 4 years old have the highest drowning rates. In 2014, among children 1 to 4 years old who died from an unintentional injury, one-third died from drowning. Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (congenital disabilities).Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.
  • Minorities: Between 1999-2010, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for African Americans was significantly higher than that of whites across all ages. The disparity is widest among children 5-18 years old. The disparity is most pronounced in swimming pools; African American children 5-19 drown in swimming pools at rates 5.5 times higher than those of whites. This disparity is greatest among those 11-12 years where African Americans drown in swimming pools at rates ten times those of whites.
  • Factors such as access to a swimming pool, lack of broad-based water safety education, the desire or lack of desire to learn how to swim, and choosing water-related recreational activities may contribute to the racial differences in drowning rates. Available rates are based on population, not on participation. If rates could be determined by actual participation in water-related activities, the disparity in minorities’ drowning rates compared to whites would be much greater.



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