Water Safety Facts
General Water Safety Rules
- Adult supervision is the key to keeping drowning situations from ever happening. Never leave a child alone or unsupervised in or near water at the pool, the lake, the beach or in the bathtub. An accident can occur in seconds, and children can drown in as little as two inches of water. If you must leave even for a moment, even to answer the phone, take your child with you.
- Make sure adults watching young children near water know CPR and can rescue a child if necessary. CPR is the lifesaver that can truly make the difference in a child surviving a drowning.
Pool Safety Rules
- Surround your pool – on all four sides – with a sturdy five-foot fence.
- Make sure the gates self-close and have self-latching and self-locking features at a height children can’t reach. Also, consider having a pool alarm and automatic interior door locks.
- Consider keeping rescue equipment such as a shepherd’s hook (which is a long pole with a hook on the end) and a flotation device near the pool.
- A telephone is highly recommended at the pool so you can call for help if needed and you will not need to leave the pool unattended to answer the phone.
- Lifeguards are added supervision for your child but should not be counted on or considered the only method of supervision.
- Recognize that inflatable swimming aids such as "floaties” are not a substitute for approved life vests or supervision. They also can give children a false sense of security in the water.
- Enroll children around the age of 1 in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors. But always keep in mind that lessons don’t make your child "drown-proof.”
- Every home pool should have a Pool Safety Kit within several feet of the pool. This safety kit should include items such as a first aid kit, a flashlight, a flotation device, a blanket, dry towels, a whistle, and a phone.
Lake/River Safety Rules
- When on or near the water, insist that your child wear a life preserver or flotation device. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that 9 of 10 drowning victims are not wearing any type of flotation device.
- When swimming in natural bodies of water, teach your children these four key swimming rules:
- Always swim with a buddy.
- Don’t dive into unknown bodies of water. Jump feet first to avoid hitting your head on shallow bottom.
- Don’t jump or push others into the water.
- Be prepared for an emergency.
- Never consume alcohol when operating a boat, swimming or during water activities, and don’t allow your child to ride on any water vehicle where you suspect alcohol consumptions will take place.
Buckets, Toilets, Bathtubs
- Never leave a baby unattended in the bath. If you must answer the telephone or door, don’t rely on an older sibling to watch the baby; wrap your baby in a towel and bring him or her with you.
- Never leave a small child unattended near a bucket filled with any amount of water or other liquid.
- Never use a bathtub seat with suction cups. The seat can overturn and flip a baby headfirst into the water.
- Install a toilet-lid locking device or keep bathroom doors closed at all times.
- At the crawling and pulling up stages while learning to walk, toddlers are top-heavy. They can quickly get into trouble in only a very small amount of water left unattended in a bucket, toilet or bathtub.
- Stay within the designated swimming area, ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.
- Never swim alone.
- Check the surf conditions before you enter the water. Check to see if a warning flag is up or check with a lifeguard for water conditions, beach conditions or any potential hazards.
- Stay away from piers, pilings and diving platforms when in the water.
- Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants. Leave animals alone.
- Make sure you always have enough energy to swim back to shore.
- Don’t try to swim against the current if caught in one. Swim gradually out of the current by swimming across it.
Children’s Hospital’s Healthy Kids program offers regular classes on CPR certification. For more information or to sign up for classes, call the Children’s Hospital Community Relations Office at (865) 541-8165.