Young children drown in swimming pool, other bodies of water and even standing water around the home in these places of danger:

  • Bathtubs, even with baby bathtub "supporting ring" devices.
  • Buckets and pails, especially 5-gallon buckets and diaper pails.
  • Ice chests with melted ice.
  • Hot tubs, spas and whirlpools
  • Irrigation ditches, post holes and wells
  • Fish ponds, fountains

Remember to watch your child at all times when he or she is near water. Children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Adult supervision is needed. Even the presence of a pool lifeguard isn;t a safe substitute for adult supervision.

Other Safety Rules

  • Empty all the water from a bathtub, pail, or any container of water immediately after use-do not leave them filled and unattended.
  • Keep the door to the bathroom closed, and keep young children out of the bathroom unless they are closely watched.
  • Teach others in the home to keep the bathroom door closed, and install a hook-and-eye latch or doorknob cover on the outside of the door.
  • NEVER leave your child alone in or near a bathtub, pail of water, wading or swimming pol, or any other water, even for a moment.
  • Knowing how to swim does NOT make your child water safe when he or she is very young.
  • Stay within an arm's length of your child around water.
  • If you have a swimming pool, now is the time to install a fence that separates the house from the pool. The pool should be fenced in on all 4 sides. Most children drown because they fall into a pool that is not fenced off from the house.
  • Use a rigid, lockable cover on hot tubs, spas, or whirlpools, or fence in all four sides as you would a swimming pool.
  • Set your water heater thermostat so that the hottest temperature at the faucet is 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burns.
  • Throw away or tightly cover water or chemical mixtures after use.
  • Learn CPR and know how to get emergency help.

Make Swimming Pool Areas Safe

Swimming pools can be quite dangerous for children. If possible, wait to install a swimming pool on your yard until your children are older.

Protecting Children From Drowning

  • Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.
  • No diving in a pool that is not deep enough.
  • Practice touch supervision with children younger that 5 years. This means that the adult is within an arm's length of the child at all times.
  • Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.
  • Do not use air-filled "swimming aids" as a substitute for approved life vests.
  • Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren't tempted to reach for them.
  • After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can't get back into it.
  • A power safety cover that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) may add to the protection but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool.
  • Empty blow-up pools after each use.
  • No tricycles or other riding toys at poolside.
  • No electrical appliances near the pool.
  • No running on the pool deck.

Swimming Lessons-When to Start

Children are generally not developmentally ready for formal swimming lessons until after age 4.  Also, swimming lessons for infants and toddlers do not necessarily make them safer in or around the water and are not a recommend means of drowning prevention at these ages.

If you want to enroll your small child in a swimming program. choose one that doesn't require him or her to put their head under water (swallowing too much water can make your child sick). also, find a program that lets you swim with your child.

Even a child that knows how to swim can drown a few feet from safety. Also remember that even a child who knows how to swim needs to be watched at all times. No one, adult or child, should ever swim alone.

Older children and teems are also at risk from drowning, even if they know how to swim. They often drown while swimming in unsupervised places such as water-filled quarries, rivers, or ponds. Although many teens can swim well, they often encounter risky situations that they might not recognize, such as rough currents, surf, and sharp rocks. Alcohol is also a factor in many drownings among teens.