Protecting Your Child From Drowning Hazards

Topic Overview

An infant or young child can drown in as little as 1 in. (2.5 cm) of water or other liquid. The following recommendations can help you protect your child from drowning hazards.1

  • Do not leave babies and young children alone in the bathtub or a swimming or wading pool. If a baby slips or rolls and lands face down, he or she may not be able to turn over. Bathing seats or flotation devices may be used, but they do not protect against drowning and are not a substitute for your attention.
  • Do not leave babies and young children alone around filled buckets, such as 5-gallon buckets used for cleaning. Empty buckets after each use, and keep them out of children's reach. Buckets have tall, straight sides, which makes it very difficult for infants and young children to escape once they have fallen in.
  • Leave toilet lids down. Keep young children out of the bathroom without your direct supervision. Make sure your toddler knows that the toilet is not a toy. Toilets are drowning hazards, especially for children younger than 3. An older baby or young child can fall headfirst into the water and not be able to climb back out. Consider placing a latch on the bathroom door, out of reach of young children.
  • Empty all liquid containers immediately after use. Make sure all empty containers are out of reach of young children and babies. Do not leave them in the yard or around the house. They can accumulate water and become a drowning hazard.
  • Empty ice chests immediately after use, and keep lids closed. Store out of children's reach.
  • Watch children closely outdoors, especially where wells, open postholes, and irrigation or drainage ditches are nearby. Fill holes and install fences or other barriers to protect your child. Make sure pools are fenced off and have covers that lock. Don't let a child out of your sight while you are doing yard work or other outdoor activities.

Other Places To Get Help

Organization

American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Elk Grove Village, IL  60007-1098
Phone: (847) 434-4000
Fax: (847) 434-8000
Web Address: www.aap.org
 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers a variety of educational materials about parenting, general growth and development, immunizations, safety, disease prevention, and more. AAP guidelines for various conditions and links to other organizations are also available.


References

Citations

  1. Consumer Product Safety Commission (2007). Prevent child in-home drowning deaths. Consumer Product Safety Alert. Available online: http://cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/drown.html.

Credits

Author Debby Golonka, MPH
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Updated December 3, 2008

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