Drowning usually occurs in private swimming pools or hot tubs. Children in the first year of life usually drown in the bathtub, even in 2 inches of water. For children who have access to water, constant supervision is the main way to prevent drowning accidents. During parties, one adult has to be clearly identified as guardian of the pool. Most drowning victims were only out of sight for a few minutes. Here are steps you can take to prevent drowning:
- First: Never leave a child less than 3 years old unattended in a bathtub or wading pool. Toddlers can drown in 2 inches of water. When not in use, keep wading pools empty.
- Second: Never leave a toddler unattended near a 5-gallon industrial bucket with any liquid inside. If they peer inside, they may fall in and drown because these large buckets don't tip over easily. When you are done, empty it.
- Third: Never leave children unattended near spas or hot tubs. Risks include entrapment in the outflow vent and overheating, not just drowning.
- Fourth: Never leave children who can't swim unattended near a swimming pool. More children drown in backyard swimming pools than at beaches or public pools.
- Fifth: Make sure that neighborhood pools are fenced off and that the gates around them are kept locked.
- Sixth: If you own a pool or hot tub, and your young child is missing, always check these places first.
- Seventh: Try to arrange swimming lessons for your child before age 8. Children are often ready to learn to swim by the age of 4 years.
- Eighth: Caution children of all ages to check the depth of the water before they dive in. Also, avoid diving in the shallow end of a pool.
- Ninth: Caution children of all ages not to over-breathe before diving in as a way to swim underwater longer. This practice can lead to passing out while underwater.
- Finally: Caution even the accomplished swimmer to always swim with a buddy, never alone.
If you have other questions about drowning, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 7/1/2005
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.