Do water safety lessons improve water safety knowledge?

Mike Tipton, Joseph Henry Muller, Cristian Gȯmez, Jo Corbett

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A person, usually a child or young adult, dies by drowning every 90 seconds around the planet. Most drowning prevention initiatives do not assess the efficacy of the intervention. In this study, thirteen- to fourteen-year-olds had their level of water safety knowledge (covering cold shock, rips and tides) assessed before, just after, and 3-6 months after one, 25-minute water safety lesson on these topics. We evaluated the knowledge gained and retained on water safety “awareness” (i.e., knowledge of risks) and “confidence” in terms of knowing what to do in an emergency. The results demonstrated that the lesson significantly increased water safety awareness and confidence in pupils, and these benefits were retained for at least six months. We accept our hypothesis that theoretical, classroom-based instruction in water safety can improve the water safety awareness and confidence of children and may represent a “lesson for life.” Given the large numbers who drown around the globe annually, a lesson on water safety should be part of every national curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalInternational Journal of Aquatic Research and Education
Issue number3
Early online date15 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • drowning prevention
  • water safety knowledge
  • education program


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