Children love to play in the water in the bathtub, in pools of all kinds, and in natural bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and the ocean. As much fun as it is, water has obvious and unexpected dangers, so it is important to teach children about water safety.
Know the Facts
- In 2005, of all children who died between the ages of 1 and 4, almost 30 percent died from drowning.
- For every child who dies from drowning, four more receive emergency room care for injuries caused by being under water.
- Drownings that are not fatal can still cause brain damage that can lead to memory problems and learning disabilities.
- Children can drown in bathtubs, toilets, sinks, buckets, wells and pools, and natural bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and the ocean.
- Young children can drown in as little as 1 to 2 inches of water.
- Most young children who drown were in the care of one or both parents at the time and had been out of sight for less than 5 minutes.
Arm yourself with a little information and you can keep your family safe and healthy.
Be Safe, Stay Safe
- Supervise children AT ALL TIMES when they are around water. In most cases, children who drowned between the ages of 1 and 4 were out of sight less than 5 minutes. An adult, not another child, must supervise.
- Don’t get distracted. Other activities, even a short telephone call, can take your attention away from your children. ALWAYS keep your eyes on children in or near water.
- Get rid of standing water in and around your home. This means emptying pails and bath water inside and draining water that may have collected in equipment or machinery from a hard rain outside.
- Close off children’s access to water. This applies to bathrooms as well as backyard pools. Apartment complexes and community pools ought to be fenced to keep out unsupervised kids.
- Teach rules for water behavior and be clear about the consequences for breaking those rules.
- Do not rely on water wings, inner tubes, and other air-filled and foam toys to keep your child safe.
- Teach your child to swim. You can teach very young children how to swim, but the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend that you rely on that as the "primary means of drowning prevention."
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Knowing CPR can be invaluable in case of an accident because it will take several minutes for paramedics to get to you.