Safe Kids Water Safety

Child Health Advocacy and Kids' Safety

Safe Kids Water Safety

boy swimmingDrowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death in children under the age of 14. The majority of drownings and near drownings occur in residential swimming pools and in open water sites.
However, children can drown in as little as one inch of water and are therefore at risk of drowning in wading pools, bathtubs, buckets, diaper pails, toilets, spas and hot tubs.
( Source: The national Safe Kids Web site,
Pool and Beach Safety
  • Always watch your children. Never assume that someone else is watching them, even when lifeguards are present. If your child is missing, check the pool or lake first. Go to the edge and span the entire area, bottom and surface. Every second counts.
  • Young children do not splash, cry or call for help.
  • Teach children to always swim with a buddy, never alone.
  • Teach children not to reach into the water for toys, ask a grown-up for help.
  • Fences around home pools are a safe measure, but not a guarantee.
  • Do not rely on substitutes. The use of floatation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision.
  • Children should learn to swim. Enroll them in swim lessons taught by qualified instructors, when they are ready, usually between the ages of 1 and 4. However, lessons do not make a child "drown-proof."

Home Safety

In the time it takes to cross the room for a towel (10 seconds) a child in the bathtub can become submerged; answer the phone (two minutes), that child can lose consciousness; sign for a package at the front door (four to six minutes), that same child can sustain permanent brain damage.

  • Never leave babies or toddlers alone near toilets, bathtubs, or buckets of water
  • Always keep a child within arms reach around water, especially in bathtubs
  • Empty all buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside-down and out of the child's reach.
  • Keep the cover on your hot tub securely locked when not in use. Children can easily slip under the cover and drown.

Boating Safety

Older children are more likely to drown in open water sites, such as lakes, rivers and oceans. Parents must establish non-negotiable water safety rules and enforce them consistently. Children should be trained in safety behavior even before they are skilled swimmers. Swimming lessons are an important step, but they do not make the child "drown-proof."

  • Everyone should always wear an approved lifejacket that fits securely when participating in boating activities and all other water sports.
  • Teach older children the following:
    • To tell someone where you are going, when you will be back and to take a cell phone
    • No diving unless you know proper diving techniques and the water is over 9 feet deep
    • Watch for dangerous weather and water conditions. Never mix boating with alcohol.