Household Water Safety Tips for Small Children

Household Water Safety Tips for Small Children Image

The community swimming pool isn't the only place where it's important for parents to think about water safety.  Standing water inside the home and residential swimming pools also pose potential hazards, especially for smaller children. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that children under age one most often drown in bathtubs, buckets, or toilets; and among children ages one to four years old, most drownings occur in residential swimming pools.  Even more alarming: Most children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes and were in the care of both parents at the time.

Like the majority of accidental injuries involving little ones, constant supervision is key to prevention.  It’s important for parents of small children to know the risks and how to avoid them.  As an added layer of protection, using plastic safety devices, such as cabinet latches, gates and other deterrents, can help keep hazardous areas off-limits to young explorers.

Following are some additional safety measures to keep in mind:

  • Children should be closely supervised by an adult any time they are in or near water.  As a rule of thumb, some experts recommend staying within an arm’s length of your child or keeping one hand on her at all times.  Be mindful that small children can drown in as little as one inch of water.
  • After each use, immediately empty buckets, pails, bathtubs and ice chests.  During use, avoid leaving containers with standing liquid unattended. 
  • Children under four should have an adult with them whenever they are in the bathroom, pool or spa area, near a drainage ditch or any part of your home with standing water.  Use plastic doorknob covers and safety gates to help prevent kids from accessing off-limits areas when you’re not with them.  You can also use toilet cover clamps to lock down lids and keep curious toddlers and their toys out of the toilet.
  • Remember that baby bathtubs, bathing seats and bath rings are designed to help you support a slippery child during his bath but should not be used as a supervision substitute.  Do not leave your child alone in the bathtub even with one of these devices.  If you have to leave the bathroom, wrap your child in a towel and bring him with you. 
  • Backyard swimming pools should be protected by an appropriate four-sided isolation fence that self-closes and self-locks.  Toys should be stored away from the pool area to avoid attracting small children. Keep personal flotation devices, such as U.S. Coast Guard-approved life preservers and life jackets, readily accessible.  Remember that air-filled swimming aids are not the same as personal flotation devices and should not be used as a substitute.

Watch that Bucket 
It is estimated that 30 to 50 toddlers and infants drown each year in household buckets. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that 5-gallon buckets are the most dangerous to small children.  A 5-gallon bucket is about half the height of a toddler and is very stable.  For these reasons, when a top-heavy toddler falls headfirst into a bucket, it is nearly impossible for the child to escape.

ü Do not leave buckets containing liquid – even a small amount of liquid – unattended.
ü Remember to completely empty buckets immediately following each use.


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