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


Nicole Hughes has poured herself into teaching parents about water safety tips. I admire her profoundly. 

Before I get further into the interview, I do want to give a trigger warning. In the interview, we discuss the devastating loss of Nicole’s child. If you have lost a child, or, for any reason, you aren’t in an emotional place right now to hear about a mother’s heartbreak, please take care of yourself and give yourself the space you need. 

I’m deeply moved to have interviewed Nicole. She has experienced the unthinkable and is dedicating her life to helping others. 

Nicole is a mother of five kids from Tennessee. In the summer of 2018, while on a family vacation, Nicole lost her 3-year-old son, Levi, to drowning. Since then, she has poured herself into learning about water safety and improving education for parents and medical providers to keep more kids safe around water. 

This interview was actually aired previously, but 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 it last summer that she asked us to air it again. Here is the letter we received: 

As a pediatrician, I have counseled on drowning prevention every summer. But the advocacy work Nicole Hughes has done and the changes the American Academy of Pediatrics has made as a result have definitely shifted what I talk about now. The podcast was so helpful to me because it gave me a framework on how I can approach this difficult topic with parents. I love having the 3 takeaways to share with them!

Thank you so much for doing this episode. I was wondering if you could re-air it again this spring/early summer. This message needs to be heard every single year. I know this conversation with Nicole Hughes WILL save lives.

This episode is incredibly important. Please, if you have the space for it, take the time to learn from Nicole and share her water safety tips with others. 



3 Water Safety Tips from Nicole Hughes


1. Understand how drowning actually happens.

It’s important to understand 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. Drowning doesn’t happen just because parents are neglectful! Remember, generally, babies drown in filled bathtubs or buckets; toddlers ages 1-4 most often drown in swimming pools, but not typically during swim times; teenagers drown in natural water when they are not wearing a life jacket. Educate yourself on the real statistics so you can be aware of the dangers. 


2. Put layers of protection in place to keep your child safe. 

The first layer of protection is supervision, but this layer can fail. To help with added protection, you can install door locks and pool fences. If you’re on vacation, always keep the doors bolt-locked, and consider buying portable door alarms from Amazon. Always have designated supervision for children when near water, especially when they are not swimming, but are in transition times with the pool nearby. 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. Teach your child to swim and to self-rescue, starting at age one. 

Infant Self Rescue (ISR) lessons are life-saving. These lessons teach your babies and toddlers to roll onto their backs independently, float, and breathe when they are in the water. Do not rely on puddle jumpers. The US Coast Guard does not approve or test items for swimming pools, only for boating. Puddle Jumpers give them a false sense of security in the water and build muscle memory for the vertical drowning position. 

I deeply care for you and your children. I hope these water safety tips from Nicole have been helpful. Please share it with the other moms in your life. These water safety tips truly can save lives! 



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Listen to Top Motherhood Podcast, 3 in 30 Podcast with Rachel Nielson, featuring Nicole Hughes on Water Safety Tips
Infographic featuring water safety tips from Nicole Hughes.



>>>Were these takeaways from Nicole on water safety tips helpful? What would you add? Comment below! 




Related Episodes like this one on Water Safety Tips:


Mentioned in the Episode:


About Our Guest:

Nicole Hughes is a mother of five from Tennessee who has been through the unthinkable heartache of losing a child to drowning in the summer of 2018. Since then, Nicole has honored 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.


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