Safer 3


Swim for Life

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Swim for Life Foundation, Inc.







Drowning IS Preventable




Tiny Bubbles Swim School is proud to be affiliated with the Swim for Life Foundation and the Safer 3 Drowning Prevention Program. 


Swim for Life



Swim for Life Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit charity that raises awareness and funding for its Safer 3 Drowning Prevention Program. Songs and cartoon characters that appeal to kids are used to prevent drowning through education. Events and scholarships for special needs people increase awareness and provide access to proven drowning prevention techniques. Olympians, lifeguards, first responders, teachers, coaches, parents, companies, foundations and communities all support the program.

What is Safer 3?

  • Safer Water Install, maintain & use proper fencing, gates, gate latches, alarms & other safety equipment around the pool. (Fences should be five feet high, area surrounding fence should be clear of objects a child could use to get over fence, gates should be self closing, doors and windows allowing pool access should be locked at all times).

  • Safer Kids Employ constant adult supervision and swim skill attainment through ongoing qualified instruction. Learn proper behavior in and around the water. (Assign an adult water watcher. Teach pool rules, don’t rely on floatation devices, learn to swim, never treat a child as water safe).

  • Safer Response Learn CPR, first aid and rescue techniques. Keep an emergency action plan and phone by the pool at all times. (Always be ready for an emergency, prepare and share an emergency plan, learn CPR, keep rescue equipment, emergency numbers and phone by pool).

Drowning Statistics

  • Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. among children under 14 and leading cause of accidental death for children     age 5 and under – American Institute for Preventive Medicine

  • A child can drown in the time it takes to answer the phone – U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

  • Of all preschoolers who drown, 70% are in the care of one or both parents and 75% are missing from sight for five minutes or less – National Center for Injury Prevention & Control

  • 65% of preschooler drownings occur in the child’s home pool and 33% at the homes of friends, neighbors or relatives. – U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission


Contact Information:

Swim for Life Foundation, Inc.
100 W. Main Street, Suite 4
Tustin, CA 92780



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Water Safety

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Safer Water



Sammy Starfish


Swim For Life


Safer Water

  • Isolate the pool from the house and yard area by surrounding it with a fence and self-closing and self-latching gate.

  • Install door, child immersion and pool alarms and locking pool and spa covers. Several barriers provide backup in case one fails.

  • Prevent children's unsupervised access to any body of water, including natural ones, bathtubs, buckets, coolers and toilets.





Safer Kids



Timmy Tadpole


Swim For Life



Safer Kids

  • Designate a "water watcher" to ensure constant, attentive adult supervision during water recreation and at bath time.

  • Teach children water safety and swimming skills. Parents and child caregivers should also know how to swim proficiently. 

  • Check the pool area or other water features first if a child is missing.




Safer Response



Gilbert Guppy


Swim For Life



Safer Response

  • Know CPR with rescue breathing.

  • Keep a phone and reaching and throwing aids near the pool.

  • Develop an emergency action plan and make sure everyone knows it.

Remember, simple steps save lives. So please, Pool Safely! For more information, visit:





About Swim for Life Foundation

Swim for Life Foundation, Inc. was chartered in 2003 as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation in order to give it life beyond the careers of its founders. It was founded by a group of concerned swim school operators that decided to do something positive to prevent drowning while still promoting the value of swimming ability as enrichment to the lives of all people. Its goal is to eventually eliminate accidental drowning worldwide.


Swimming is an activity that can be enjoyed from infancy through the golden years of life. Waters of the world have been used throughout history for survival, recreation, pleasure, healing and therapy. People will always be attracted to water.


The benefits of water are not without cost, however, as drowning continues to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide. This terrible fact drove the founders of the Swim for Life Foundation, Inc. to seek a better way to prevent drowning accidents worldwide.


Drowning prevention efforts have been waged by many dedicated people and dedicated organizations but still the tragedies persist. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. among children under 14 and the leading cause of accidental death for children five and under (American Institute for Preventive Medicine). Of all preschoolers who drown, 70% are in the care of one or both parents at the time and 75% are missing from sight for five minutes or less (National Center for Injury Prevention & Control). 


Fully 65% of all preschooler drownings occur in the child’s home pool and 33% occur at the homes of friends, neighbors or relatives…a child can drown in the time it takes to answer a telephone (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission). 


But successful drowning prevention programs do exist. One of the most successful, “Kids Alive” in Australia, enlisted the help of government at all levels, and corporations such as MacDonald’s, who worked together to dramatically reduce the number of accidental drownings. The success of the “Kids Alive” program is attributed to a multi-layered approach to prevention: barrier protection of pools and spas, responsible supervision, learning to swim and learning rescue procedures. It was soon recognized that no single approach would work alone. Continuous promotion through the media was required to create awareness and educate the population. Only then did the frequency of accidental drowning of children and others go down dramatically.


Safer 3 is Swim for Life Foundation’s comprehensive initiative to dramatically reduce accidental drowning in the U.S. and eventually worldwide. Safer Water means the installation, maintenance and proper use of proper fencing, gates, gate latches, alarms, and other safety equipment and technology around the pool and spa. Safer Kids means constant responsible adult supervision along with swimming skills attainment through ongoing qualified instruction. Safer Response means learning cardio pulmonary resuscitation, first aid and other rescue and emergency response techniques along with preparing an emergency action plan and having a phone by the pool at all times. We believe Safer 3 will dramatically lower accidental drowning over time and eventually eliminate it worldwide. We ask for your help to realize that goal sooner rather than later.


The Safer 3 Program

Drowning is preventable. Everyone can make a positive difference. It costs nothing to get started now. Our message delivery strategy is to focus extensive media relations efforts on a comprehensive, multi-layered program that has been proven effective to dramatically reduce accidental drowning. It incorporates common sense techniques to create Safer Water, Safer Kids andSafer Response…Safer 3.

Safer 3 uses elements that grab the attention of children, parents and caregivers, as well as the media, in order to create awareness of drowning issues and to educate people about what they can do in their daily lives to dramatically reduce these avoidable human tragedies. It’s also important to keep in mind that Safer 3 is not a campaign. It is an ongoing, long-term and continuously improving program to immediately, dramatically reduce drowning and near-drowning accidents and eventually to reduce them to zero worldwide.


Safer Water

Unauthorized entry into a pool or spa area by a child with little or no swimming skills is a prescription for tragedy.  So is an unattended bucket of water, open toilet or bathtub for a toddler. Water can be made safer simply by becoming aware of its dangers and by developing good habits that eliminate risk factors. Water can also be made safer with the installation, maintenance and proper use of fencing, self-closing gates and latches, pool covers and alarms and additional safety equipment to protect the swimming perimeter.

These devices work, but why aren’t they more widely used?  We think it might be because of the cost and intrusiveness of the equipment as well as the general lack of awareness of water safety issues in the community.


But technology is becoming available that would reduce the cost and intrusiveness of pool safety equipment while increasing its effectiveness. It just needs to be applied to products designed to make water safer. We can play a key role to make this happen.


We believe that by increasing awareness of water dangers Safer 3 will become a catalyst for innovation.  Increasing awareness increases the size of the potential market for pool safety equipment which in turn attracts entrepreneurs and manufacturers who will eventually develop better, safer, more affordable water safety products.


Safer Kids

Constant supervision by responsible adults is imperative. A child should never be left unattended. Any person charged with the critical duty of watching children in the water should be free from distraction, know how to swim well and be trained in rescue techniques. Parents and caregivers need to enforce proper safety rules and both parent and child need to understand the importance of their role in preventing accidental drowning.

Children can also be made safer by mastery of swimming skills at an early age. Qualified instructors in numerous public and private community swimming programs around the country can provide ongoing development of swimming skills while teaching proper behavior in and around the water. Teaching kids to swim should be a process, not an event. Constant safety reminders, ongoing lessons, practicing good habits, gaining knowledge of water dangers, and how to eliminate them will all contribute to a dramatic reduction of drowning.

Swim for Life Foundation, Inc. will be providing access to these programs for special needs people through its scholarship fundraising, and through sponsored special events. It will also stimulate greater interest in the lifelong benefits of swimming with its media outreach activities. Accidental drowning can eventually be eliminated worldwide and it can be dramatically reduced beginning right here, right now. Learning and practicing good pool safety habits builds confidence and greater appreciation of the lifelong health benefits of swimming…and it is fun!


To catch and retain the attention of children, parents and caregivers, Swim for Life Foundation, Inc. has developed three cartoon characters for the Safer 3 program, one for each key element or “leg” of the “three-legged stool” that supports the program. Timmy Tadpole © , for example, can talk to kids about how to be safer by learning to swim and behave properly around water. Sammy Starfish© can talk to kids about how to get parents to make water safer with protective barriers, and how to do their part with good habits around the pool or spa. Gilbert Guppy© can talk to kids about how both kids and parents learning CPR and first aid and having an emergency response plan in place with a telephone always by the pool can make a big difference in water safety.


Timmy Tadpole©, Sammy Starfish© and Gilbert Guppy© have proven very effective at grabbing attention, and so popular as teaching aids in our foundation’s original children’s comic books, that they have recently been developed into animated characters. They sing our drowning prevention jingle, help prevent drowning through their kid friendly delivery of educational messages, and boost the fun factor for kids and parents while attracting media attention from journalists that always love the visual appeal of our drowning prevention events. Swim for Life Foundation, Inc. has obtained the exclusive rights to these characters including permission for unlimited use of the jingle for drowning prevention purposes from the composer.  


Safer Response

Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid and other rescue techniques through ongoing certification courses is an effective way to reduce accidental drowning and near-drowning incidents and to limit their severity when the incident is discovered at its outset by a responsible adult.

There is also no reason why children of an appropriate age and maturity can’t learn the same techniques. They are effective and certification programs that exist to teach them are widely available. Keeping an emergency action plan, rescue equipment and telephone by the pool at all times has also proven effective. Swim for Life Foundation, Inc. strongly endorses their use.

But why aren’t these proven responses more widely practiced? Sadly, most bystanders can only dial 911 and wring their hands while waiting for emergency medical units to arrive.


We believe there are two main reasons. The first is a simple general unawareness of water dangers, especially to small children, and common sense practices and use of safety equipment that can substantially reduce risk. Second, many people believe that learning CPR is too difficult or that its inadvertent improper use may open up the practitioner to liability. Both concerns can be addressed with an effective community-wide public educational program. For more information on this and our program, please visit our website.


We need your donations, will you help?

Visit our website: for more information.


Sammy Starfish is employed by Swim For Life Foundation


The Safer 3 is an important drowning prevention model advocated for by the Swim For Life Foundation. The Safer 3 is based on the idea that while being around water can never be completely “safe,” as in free from any risk, we can do things to make being in and around water safer. There are three areas where risk can be reduced and managed: Safer Water, Safer Kids (or all people in general), and Safer Response.

Safer Water involves identifying where risks in your surrounding area lie, such as the bathtub, spa, or backyard pool. Outside of the home, this may include a nearby ocean, lake, or river. If you have kids, creating barriers (such as fences) so they cannot access these areas without adult supervision is paramount to reducing risk at the first level. For open water swimmers, this means surveying the conditions of the water before getting in, and making a smart decision if fog, polluted or murky water, or extreme surf are present.

Safer Kids means taking steps to reduce the risk for the potential victim. Maintaining adult supervision of children when they are around pools, as well as teaching kids how to swim and be aware of the dangers of water can mitigate the risk of drowning.


Safer open water swimmers always swim with a buddy (or kayaker) and inform lifeguards of their plans.

Finally, Safer Response involves having skilled adults who can reduce risk during an emergency, if that were to happen. CPR and First Aid training are handy skills for anyone who is around water or may be supervising others in the water. Finally, an emergency action plan and phone by a pool are also helpful in the case of an emergency. For open water swimmers these skills are essential, as we are often the only other person around other open water swimmers and would be the ones to act first in case of an emergency.


Following these simple steps can create a much safer environment for all of our water-related activities. Drowning is preventable, and taking the time to ask, “Where is the risk?” can significantly reduce the number of unnecessary water-related accidents and deaths.


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