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Prevent Drowning in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What do I need to know about drowning prevention?

The best way to prevent drowning is to make sure your child is supervised at all times in water. This includes swimming pools, bathtubs, hot tubs, buckets, wading pools, and other collections of water. A child can drown in less than 2 inches (5 cm) of water. Toddlers tend to be top heavy. They can drown if they fall head first into water. Drowning can happen quickly, even in a child who knows how to swim. Swim lessons are not a substitute for adult supervision.

What are the signs of drowning?

The following are common signs that a person is struggling in the water and needs help. Make sure everyone responsible for your child's water safety knows the following signs:

What do I need to teach my child about water safety?

What can I do to help prevent drowning?

What can I do to make my home pool or hot tub safer?

Devices such as pool covers and alarms can help increase safety but cannot substitute for attentive adults. The following are general guidelines for making your home's pool or hot tub safer. You will need to check them at other homes, and at hotels when you travel.

What can I do to keep my child safe in and around open water?

Open water includes oceans, lakes, rivers, and ditches. The following are ways to prevent drowning in open water:

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.