Reach, Throw, but Don’t Go

Reach, Throw, but Don’t Go

Last updated: November 16, 2016, at 3:20 p.m. PT

Originally published: November 16, 2016, at 3:16 p.m. PT


Learning to swim is about much more than just learning strokes, it means  gaining water survival skills, practicing water safety, and developing a comfort in the water. Kids are naturally curious and making sure they have basic water safety skills is more important than ever.

Prevent potentially dangerous situations by reviewing the rules of Reach, Throw, Don’t Go with kids, and let them know what they can do to help a friend in trouble. Use these simple Q&As as a guide:

Why shouldn’t you jump in to save a friend who is struggling in deep water?

No matter how good of a swimmer you are, a panicked person in the water will overpower you and pull you under with them.

So, what can you do to help them?

Use an object to reach out to them and pull them back to the shore, the bank, or the side of the pool. This is called a reaching assist. Reaching assists help the person in the water and keep you safe too.

What can you use to reach them?

Anything long enough to extend your reach, such as a pool noodle, a towel, a pole, or clothing. You can also throw the person something that will help them float safely until help arrives. This is called a throwing assist.

What are some things you could throw to someone to help them stay afloat until a rescuer arrives?

Anything that floats and can hold someone: a kickboard, pool noodle, ring buoy, or anything similar.