Healthy Kids    

Keeping kids safe around the water

Safety tips for your family

pools, lakes, swimming

Community Safety - National Safety Council research shows that drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury related death in the home. While many American families work to reduce home hazards, water safety is an area that is often overlooked.

"Drowning is a sudden and silent danger," says Meri-K Appy, a national injury prevention expert. "Anything from buckets and bathtubs to outdoor pools and ponds can be the site of a tragic drowning if children are left unsupervised for any amount of time."

The summer season marks the start of outdoor water-related activities and family gatherings around the pool. The National Safety Council urges families to take the following basic safety precautions as they kick off the season, while keeping indoor water hazards in mind as well.

Swimming Safety and Pool Security

  • Practice constant adult supervision at all times when children are around any body of water. Adults must be within an arm's reach of young children when they are near water.
  • Older children should not be left in charge of younger children in the pool area.
  • Assign specific adults to keep an eye on the pool at all times. When you have pool parties, formally assign adults to pool supervision shifts to ensure the children are watched closely throughout the party.
  • Install four-sided fencing that isolates the pool from the home. Four-sided pool fencing is proven to be an effective drowning prevention intervention. Pool fencing should be at least five feet high and have self-locking and self-closing gates.
  • Position gate latches out of the reach of young children and never prop the gate open or disable the latch.
  • Clear debris, clutter and pool toys from the pool deck and adjoining pathways to prevent slips and falls.
  • Keep a cordless, water-resistant telephone in the pool area and post emergency numbers near the pool area.
  • Enroll non-swimmers in swimming lessons taught by a qualified instructor.
  • Never swim alone. Even adults should always swim with a buddy.
  • Learn and practice lifesaving techniques, including First Aid and CPR. Require that anyone who cares for your children learn CPR.
  • Keep poolside rescue equipment close to the pool area.

Water Safety at Home

Young children are especially vulnerable to drowning risk areas inside the home including toilets, bathtubs and any large bucket. The Home Safety Council recommends these safety precautions to keep your children safe from potential water hazards.
  • Stay within touch supervision around water, always keeping children within an arm's reach. Hazards include buckets, bathtubs, toilets, spas and all standing water.
  • Practice constant supervision during bath time. Never allow older siblings to supervise children in or around standing water.
  • Be aware that baby bath seats are not safety devices and should never substitute for adult supervision.
  • Drain the bathtub immediately after using it.
  • Keep bathroom doors closed and use door knob covers to prevent young children from accessing bathrooms unsupervised.
  • Use toilet seat locks and keep toilet lids shut.
  • Be sure all buckets are emptied immediately after use, turned over with the opening face down and stored out of children's reach.