Household Safety: Preventing Drowning
Water safety is important at any age, but especially if you have babies or toddlers. Drowning can happen very quickly and in less than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of water. So filled bathtubs, swimming pools, wading pools, hot tubs, and even buckets of water and sinks can be dangerous.
To reduce the risk of drowning:
- Never leave a baby unattended in the bath. If you must answer the phone 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 bathtub, bucket, or other container filled with any amount of water or other liquid unattended.
- Never use a bathtub seat or supporting ring without constant adult supervision. The seat can overturn or a baby may slip out into the water.
- Install a toilet-lid locking device and keep bathroom doors closed at all times. (Or you may want to install a doorknob cover.)
- If you have a pool in your backyard, install fencing at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) high on all sides of the pool, as well as a self-closing and self-latching gate with a lock that's out of a child's reach.
- Consider installing a pool alarm or cover, but know that these are not substitutes for fencing and adult supervision.
- Remove toys from the pool when kids are finished swimming to prevent them from trying to recover them when unsupervised.
- Inflatable flotation devices such as vests, water wings, rafts, and tubes can give a false sense of security in the pool and are not effective in protecting a child from drowning. Never use these as a substitute for constant adult supervision.
- Dump out all water from a wading pool when you're finished using it.
- Remove any ladders from an above-ground pool when not in use.
- If you leave your child with a babysitter, make sure he or she is comfortable supervising your child in the pool and understands your pool rules.
Whether you're expecting a baby or already have a child, it's a good idea to:
- Learn CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.
- Keep these numbers near the phone (for yourself and caregivers) and put them in
- toll-free poison-control number: 1-800-222-1222
- doctor's number
- parents' work numbers and other contact information
- neighbor's or nearby relative's number (if you need someone to watch other children in an emergency)
- Make a first-aid kit and keep emergency instructions inside.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.