How can I keep kids safe around water?

Families/Kids Staying Safe

A: Swimming is a great way to beat the heat and get some healthy, fun exercise outdoors and there are simple steps that we can take to protect children from water injury and drowning.

Learn CPR, fence off pools, keep a watchful eye on children around water, teach kiddos how to swim, and use life jackets near lakes, oceans, and rivers.

We know it is scary, but drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide and about 236,000 people die annually from drowning. In the United States, drowning kills more children ages 1-4 than anything else besides birth defects. Three children die every day due to drowning. It is super important we all work together to prevent drowning.

So what can you do?

👩‍🎓 Learn CPR: Anyone who is caring for children should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). There are tons of options including online and in person classes.

👁 Watch all children around water: An adult should always be designated as the “watcher,” someone who is dedicated to watching the kids. This person should not be drinking alcohol, needs to get rid of all distractions (bye bye cell phone!), and avoid all other activities. If multiple adults are present, the watcher should switch out every 15 minutes or so to keep everyone’s eyes freshly peeled and focused up! Touch supervision should be used for kids under the age of 4 or who do not swim well. This means the adult is always within arm’s length.

🦺 Wear life vests: In or near any natural body of water (like oceans, rivers, or lakes), life vests should be worn at all times. Make sure the life vest fits. Pool noodles, arm floaties, and inner tubes are no substitute for the real deal life jacket or vest.

⛓ Fence and secure pools and spas: The fence should be at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall, have no opening underneath, and have slats less than 4 inches wide. Do not pick a style of fence that kids can easily climb on (remember: children are climbing machines!). Self-latching and self-closing gates are also helpful.

🏊‍♂️ Teach children to swim: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends swimming lessons for all children and their caregivers. Most kids are ready to learn by the age of 4, and toddler and preschool classes starting as young as 1 year old can be beneficial.

❗️ Remember that drowning can happen at ANY time: About two thirds of all drownings in kids under the age of 4 happen outside of swimming activities. Drowning can occur even in very shallow water. Never leave open top water containers around where kids could reach them. This includes buckets, wading pools, coolers, and even water bowls for pets. Bathroom time should also be monitored and safety latches can be installed on toilets to keep that pesky lid closed (it will also keep the pets out, which is an added bonus!).

The Nerdy Girls wish you a happy, healthy summer full of fun in the sun (with sun screen of course 😉). Keep safe out there!


WHO Info on Drowning

AAP (@AmerAcadPeds) Drowning Prevention

Mayo Clinic Drowning Prevention

Red Cross CPR Training