Nearly all accidental drownings involving young children, in one way or another, can be attributed to a lack of parental supervision or improper monitoring. That’s the bad news. The good news is that this also means that almost all drowning deaths are preventable. Aside from just telling parents to watch their kids around water, here are some helpful tips that will improve your awareness of drowning dangers and keep your kids safe around water.
General Water Safety Tips:
Water safety tip #1:
Locate the danger. Look for potentially hazardous bodies of water wherever you go, whether it be the park, a friend’s house, etc. Pools, fountains, lakes, ponds, and even large puddles can be a potential drowning hazard for children, so know where the danger is. If a child goes missing, always check these areas first before focusing your search elsewhere. If they have managed to slip away and have gotten themselves into trouble, time is of the essence, so start with the water hazards and then work your way to other areas. The difference between locating them floating in the pool in one minute versus five minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
Water safety tip #2:
Enlist the help of older siblings to keep an eye on the little ones. Children 4 and under account for 80 percent of home drownings, and have a death rate more than 3 times that of all other age groups. So it never hurts to have extra eyes and ears looking out for potential dangers. We have two kids books that address this concept; My Water Safety Book talks about this in its lessons on water safety, and What Bigger Kids Can Do also addresses this danger as it teaches older siblings how they can help keep little ones safe.
Water safety tip #3:
Control your domain. When you go to the beach or pool, be sure to set up in an area where you can clearly see your children. Before they get in the water, outline the areas where they are allowed to go, and tell them they have to stay in those areas where they can see you. Let them know where the deep areas of the pool are – many drownings occur because a child slips away and jumps in the wrong end, thinking it’s the shallow side. If you’re swimming at an unfamiliar lake or other outside body of water, be sure to test the area yourself to ensure there are no sinkholes or sudden drop-offs. It’s also recommended that whether you go to the pool or the beach, pick a spot near the lifeguard. Then go over to say hello, and ask about the conditions in the water. Lifeguards at the lake or ocean can tell you about any rip currents or other hazards to beware of, and can recommend the safest areas for little ones to swim. It also helps children know who they can go to if they get lost or separated from the group.
Water safety tip #4:
Enroll your child in swimming lessons as soon as possible. Just keep in mind that these lessons do not make your child “drown proof.” While you’re at it, learn infant and child CPR yourself. You can enroll in classes by contacting your local Red Cross.
Water Safety Tips: Inside the home:
Water safety tip #5:
If you have toddlers in the home, install safety latches on the toilet seats, which can be purchased through vendors via our online child safety products store. Remind older children to keep the bathroom doors closed, and install locks or put childproof doorknob covers to keep the little ones out of areas with potential water hazards.
Water safety tip #6:
Always drain mop buckets immediately after use. Do not leave them unattended in a room that children have access to.
Water safety tip #7:
About two-thirds of in-home drownings occur in bathtubs. Be sure to drain the water in the tub immediately after using it, and never leave young children or children with medical problems (such as seizure disorders) alone in the bathtub. Also make sure that anti-slip mats are installed both inside and outside the tub. Finally, do not use the empty tub as a playpen, as this can lead to drowning if the water is somehow turned on by the child.
Water Safety Tips for Parents: Around the House:
Water safety tip #8:
Always turn empty buckets, kiddy pools, and other containers upside down when not in use. Anything that collects rainwater after a storm can pose a drowning hazard to small children, and if you have abunch of troughs of various sorts collecting water around your property each time it rains, that’s a lot of drowning hazards littered around your home like land mines. Five-gallon work buckets are especially hazardous, as they are the perfect size and shape to tip a curious toddler head-first into them.
Water Safety printable book
A Fun and entertaining children’s book that teaches kids some basic principles on water safety. Recommended for kids ages 4-10.