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Household Safety: Preventing Drowning

Article Translations: (Spanish)

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:

Bathroom

  • 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.)

Pool

  • 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.

Be Prepared

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 your cellphone:
    • 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.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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