236: How to Keep Kids Safe Around Water this Summer // Nicole Hughes

Trigger Warning: Child Loss

Today’s episode with Nicole Hughes about water safety is an encore as part of our series about preparing for summer vacation with our children, and we decided to re-air this particular episode because we got an email from a pediatrician who was so impacted by this conversation when we aired last summer that she asked us to air it again.

We agree that this episode is incredibly important, and we immediately knew we wanted to re-air the episode as we head into summer. Our guest today is Nicole Hughes, a mother of five from Tennessee, who has been through the unthinkable heartache of losing a child to drowning in the summer of 2018.

Nicole Hughes has spent the last four years honoring her son’s life by pouring herself into learning about water safety and improving education for parents and medical providers to keep more kids safe around water, and today she’ll be sharing with us some of the most important drowning statistics and water safety prevention measures that we need to know to keep our kids safe around water this summer.




  1. Understand how drowning actually happens. This means knowing the statistics for which situations are most dangerous for your child, depending on their age and even the region of the country where you are living. Remember, generally babies drown in filled bathtubs or buckets, toddlers ages 1-4 drown in swimming pools, but when they are not swimming. And teenagers drown in natural water, when they are not wearing a life jacket.
  2. Put layers of protection in place to keep your child safe. This looks like installing door locks and pool fences. Always have designated supervision for children when they are swimming and especially when they are not swimming, but they are in transition times with the pool nearby. And always remove toys from the pool after everyone gets out. As you do these little things, they layer upon each other to really build safety for your child.
  3. The very most important thing you can do to keep your child safe around water is to teach them to swim and to self rescue, starting at age one. Do not rely on puddle jumpers, which give them a false sense of security in the water and build muscle memory for the up-and-down drowning position. Instead, get them enrolled in water safety instruction that will teach them to independently roll onto their back, float, and breathe when they are in the water.


>>>Are these tips from Nicole Hughes helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.





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