Water Safety

Injury Prevention Water Safety pool cartoonAccording to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 300 children under the age of 5 drown in residential swimming pools and hot tubs each year, and 3,000 children in the same age group are treated in emergency rooms for submersion accidents. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 and 78% of all drowning injuries occurred among children younger than 5 years. Keep these tips in mind when your child is in or near water – including pools, bathtubs, hot tubs, rivers and lakes.

  • Always provide adult supervision.
  • Never leave a child alone in or near the water. Encourage children to use the buddy system.
  • Flotation devices, water wings and pool toys should never be used as life jackets.
  • Never go swimming during a storm or when there is lightning.
  • Children should swim only in supervised or designated areas.
  • Never permit a child to swim in a river.
  • Make sure you and your child knows the depth of the water.
  • Do not permit diving or jumping into water that is less than 12-feet deep.
  • Keep a phone and emergency numbers near the water.
  • Have each child complete a swimming safety program.
  • Enforce all pool rules, including no running, pushing or dunking other swimmers.
  • Never leave buckets of water on the floor. Children may drown in even small buckets.
  • Have an adult be a water watcher; someone who does nothing else but keep an eye on the children in the water. The water watcher is free of all distractions including cell phones and food. For more information visit www.safekids.org.

If you own a pool or a hot tub, follow these safety tips, too:

  • Make sure there is a clear view of the entire pool from your house.
  • Install a fence or wall that is at least five-feet high and completely surrounds the pool. Entry points should be kept locked.
  • Invest in a pool alarm that sounds when a child enters the pool.
  • Make sure that any handles or latches to gate openings are not easily accessible to young children.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the safe installation and use of your pool cover.
  • Keep all electrical appliances away from the pool and hot tub.
  • Store pool chemicals carefully – explosions and burn injuries can occur if the chemicals are stored improperly or handled by children.
  • Cover hot tubs with locks when not in use.
  • Children should avoid hot tubs. If you do choose to allow children to use the hot tub, check regularly for appropriate temperature settings and limit the amount of time they spend in the hot tub. High water temperatures elevate body temperatures of children.