Children are attracted to water but are not capable of understanding the dangers associated with water. Children can drown in less than 5 cm (2 in.) of water. Children drown silently and quickly.
Active supervision of your child when they are in or near water is very important. Other important safety behaviours to reduce the risk of a drowning incident are listed below.
Avoid the use of a bath seat or bath ring. Bath seats and rings have been attributed to a number of drowning incidents in infants and young children, and their use is not recommended. Babies who cannot sit without support should be held by an adult at all times during their bath.
Young children should be within an arm’s reach of an adult (not an older child) when in or near water, including paddling pools and in the bathroom. At social gatherings, take turns being the adult responsible for supervision of children. When it is your turn, focus on your job as “water watcher” to ensure you are not distracted by other activities.
Use a doorknob safety cover or put an eye and hook lock on the outside of all bathroom doors. Place the eye and hook lock up high and out of reach of young children to keep them out of the bathroom without adult supervision. Drain water out of sinks and bathtubs immediately after use and install locks on toilet seat lids.
Completely empty and turn paddling or wading pools upside-down when they are not being directly supervised by an adult (within an arm’s reach of children under 5 years of age). Teach older children that the pool and hot tub are off limits without direct adult supervision.
Ensure all backyard pools have fencing on all four sides that is at least four feet high and cannot be accessed by children. Any gate to the pool area should be self-closing and self-latching. Teach children not to go in or near the pool without an adult.
Enroll your children in swimming lessons. Children should be taught the unique dangers of different bodies of water (e.g., pools, lakes, rivers, etc.).