Water Safety

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4. It takes only seconds to drown, and often occurs silently when an unsupervised child is near water.

Although most drownings occur in residential swimming pools, children can drown in just one inch of water (such as in buckets, bath tubs, wading pools, diaper pails, toilets, hot tubs, and spas). In addition, open waters such as oceans, rivers, and lakes pose a drowning threat to older children.

Consider these facts concerning drowning from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign:

  • When a child is submerged two minutes in water, he/she loses consciousness.
  • Irreversible brain damage sets in after four to six minutes of water submersion.
  • Most children die if they are found after 10 minutes in the water.

Parents are advised to take the following preventive steps to protect their children from drowning:

  • Never leave your child unsupervised near water at or in the home, or around any body of water, including a swimming pool.
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and infant and child first-aid.
  • Do not rely on personal flotation devices (PDFs) or swimming lessons to protect your child.
  • Install childproof fencing around swimming pools.
  • Make sure you have rescue equipment, a telephone, and emergency phone numbers near the swimming pool.
  • Insist that your child wear a US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device on boats at all times.
  • Do not allow children to dive in waters less than 9 feet deep.

There are many different water-related incidences that require emergency clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below are some considerations, for which a brief overview has been provided.

If you cannot find the information in which you are interested, please visit the Safety and Injury Prevention Online Resources page in this Web site for an Internet/World Wide Web address that may contain additional information on that topic.

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