» Water Safety
tips for children under 1:
Water Safety Tips
While water recreation provides hours of enjoyment and exercise for children, water and children can be a deadly mix when an unsafe environment, inadequate supervision or improperly used safety gear is also present. Drowning remains the second leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14. For children under age 1, more than half of the drownings occur in the bathtub. Children this age also drown in toilets and buckets.
tips around pools and bodies of water:
- Empty all
buckets and any other large containers after use.
- Keep the bathroom door closed
at all times.
- Never leave a child alone in
- Keep toilets closed or use
- Use a rigid, lockable cover
on a hot tub, spa, or whirlpool.
leave a young child unsupervised in or around water, even for a moment.
- Always designate a
responsible adult to serve as the “child watcher” – a supervisor whose
sole responsibility is to constantly observe children in or near the
- Supervisors should maintain
continuous visual and auditory contact with children in or near the water,
and should stay in close proximity (waterside) so that they can
effectively intervene if an emergency situation should arise.
- Supervisors should not engage
in distracting behaviors such as talking on the phone, preparing a meal or
- Supervisors should keep
children who cannot swim within arm's reach at all times.
- Children should be enrolled
in swimming lessons by age 8.
- Parents and caregivers should
learn infant and child CPR.
- Educate children about the
rules of water safety, including:
- Always swim with a
buddy and an adult present;
- Never swim in an open
body of water or go boating without wearing a PFD
- Never dive into a
river, lake or ocean
- If someone is in
trouble in the water, call for help and throw something that floats to
the victim. A child should never enter the water to try to save someone.
Too often, firefighters hear people say, “it was
just a few seconds.” Unfortunately, just a few seconds is all it takes for
a child to drown. Most children drown in their own backyard swimming pool,
however, an alarming number of children drown in buckets, bathtubs, toilets,
dog water bowls, canals and ponds. Small children are top-heavy, and they don't
have the upper body strength to lift themselves out of one of these dangerous
situations. Even if the child survives the incident, they are often left with
permanent brain damage. Drowning and near drowning can be prevented, and you
can help! Anyone involved with the supervision of children need to be aware of
the dangers associated with any body of water. Below are some useful tips to
prevent these needless tragedies.
Safety Around the Pool
- Know where your children are at all times
- Use an approved barrier to separate the pool from the house
- Never allow children to be alone near a pool or any water source
- Have life-saving devices near the pool, such as a pole/hook, or flotation device
- Keep large objects such as tables, chairs, toys, and ladders away from pool fences
- Post the 9-1-1 number on the phone
- Do not allow children to play around the pool and store all toys outside the pool area
- If you leave the pool area, take the children with you
- Always have a “designated child watcher”
- Learn to swim
- Never swim alone, or while under the influence of alcohol or medications
- Never swim when thunder or lightning is present
- Never dive into unfamiliar or shallow bodies of water
Whether vacationing on a beach in San Diego, staying
at a hotel with a pool, visiting relatives or friends who own pools, taking a
tubing trip down a river or boating on a lake… water safety must be practiced
wherever water is present!
Here are some simple water safety tips to follow
when planning your next family vacation:
- Enforce the same safety rules you use at home. Take time to
explain the importance of following these same rules to your children.
- Never allow children to swim unsupervised in a hotel/motel pool:
Never assume someone else is watching your child.
- Check out the pool before you swim: Is the water clean and clear?
Where is the deep end? Is there a lifeguard on duty? Where is the rescue
equipment, and how is it used? Where is the phone, and can you dial out
- When staying at a relative or friend’s home, look for possible
water hazards (pools, ponds, buckets, bathtubs, toilets, dog bowls,
- When boating, wear a Coast Guard approved lifejacket: When
planning boating events, make sure to pack a lifejacket for each person.
Children are required to wear a lifejacket at all times in a boat in many
states. Bring along other items that float such as cooler, cushions, etc.
- Know what is in and under an open water area: Find out about
hazards such as marine life, parasites, currents, drop-offs, very cold
water, or submerged objects. Enter all unfamiliar water feet first.
- If the water is shared by boats, BE VISIBLE: Have your child wear
a bright colored swim cap, stay close to shore, and actively watch for
- Know what to do if your child falls in the river: Go downstream
immediately to position yourself to help.
about 80 children die annually from bathtub drownings. Here are some tips for
keeping your child safe in the tub:
- Supervision. NEVER leave a child
unattended in the bathtub for ANY REASON. There is nothing important
enough to risk drowning! Children can drown in just a few inches of water,
and can easily topple into the tub while you’re dashing out to answer the
phone, get a towel, etc.
- Don’t run to answer the
- Don’t check to see
who’s at the door.
- Don’t leave your child
to be watched by an older brother or sister.
MAKE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THESE RULES!
- Bath seats. Several types of bath
seats and rings adhere to the bottom of the tub with suction cups and
offer bathing infants and toddlers support while sitting. Don't think that
you can leave your child unattended. The suction cups can come loose, and
it isn't hard for a child to slide out of the seats.
- Get supplies first. Collect soap, towel,
diaper, clothing, toys, and any other items you plan on using before you
even run the bath water. Place these items where you can reach them
- Water heater. To reduce the risk of
scalding, set your home's water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees
Fahrenheit. A good test: You should be able to hold your hand comfortably
under the tap even when the hot water alone is running.
- Faucet covers. Placing a soft,
insulated cover over the bathtub faucet is a prudent safeguard against
accidental burns or bumps. They are available at many baby-supplies
- Slips and Falls. Prevent bathtub slips
and falls by placing a rubber mat in the tub or affixing non-slip adhesive
decals or strips to the bottom of the tub.
- Electrical hazards. Keep electrical devices
(including hair dryers, curling irons, and electric razors) well
away from the tub.
- Slippery floors. Be sure to use (and
teach your child to use) extra caution and keep a non-slip bathroom
rug by the side of the tub for your child to step onto after bathing.
Buckets filled with water or
other liquids, especially the large five-gallon size, present a drowning hazard
to small children. Nationally, about 25
children drown every year in buckets, and many more are hospitalized. Many of
the containers involved in drownings nationally were 5-gallon buckets
containing liquids. Most were used for mopping floors or other household
chores. Many were less than half full.
A young child’s curiosity, along with their crawling
and pulling up while learning to walk can lead to danger when buckets are used
around the house. Curious children lean forward to play in the water. When they
topple into the bucket, they are unable to free themselves and drown. The
5-gallon bucket is particularly dangerous because its heavier weight makes it
more stable than a smaller bucket, and unlikely to tip over when a child uses
it to pull up. These containers are about half the height of the infants, and
with several gallons of water, weigh more than children of that age.
- Never leave any bucket of water or other liquid
unattended when small children are around.
- Even a partly filled bucket can be a drowning
- When doing household
chores, immediately empty out buckets when finished, or move them to a
safe place before taking a break.