Water safety tips beyond the pool

While water recreation provides hours of enjoyment and exercise for children, water and children can be a deadly mix when an unsafe environment, inadequate supervision or improperly used safety gear is also present. Drowning remains the second leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14. 

The Children's Hospital of Michigan and the Kohl's Injury Prevention Program has these water safety tips.

For children under age 1, more than half of the drownings occur in the bathtub. Children this age also drown in toilets and buckets. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water.

Water safety tips for children under 1:

  • Empty all buckets and any other large containers after use.
  • Keep the bathroom door closed at all times.
  • Never leave a child alone in the bathroom.
  • Keep toilets closed or use toilet latches.
  • Use a rigid, lockable cover on a hot tub, spa, or whirlpool.

Water safety tips around pools and bodies of water:

  • Never leave a young child unsupervised in or around water, even for a moment.
  • Always designate a responsible adult to serve as the "child watcher" - a supervisor whose sole responsibility is to constantly observe children in or near the water.
  • Supervisors should maintain continuous visual and auditory contact with children in or near the water, and should stay in close proximity (waterside) so that they can effectively intervene if an emergency situation should arise.
  • Supervisors should not engage in distracting behaviors such as talking on the phone, preparing a meal or reading.
  • Supervisors should keep children who cannot swim within arm's reach at all times.
  • Children should be enrolled in swimming lessons.
  • Parents and caregivers should learn infant and child CPR.

Educate children about the rules of water safety, including:

  • Always swim with a buddy and an adult present;
  • Never swim in an open body of water or go boating without wearing a PFD
  • Never dive into a river, lake or ocean
  • If someone is in trouble in the water, call for help and throw something that floats to the victim. A child should never enter the water to try to save someone.

For more information about the Children's Hospital of Michigan Kohl's Injury Prevention Program please visit: www.childrensdmc.org/KIPP.