Tips To Keep Kids Safe When They Play In And Around Water

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center want to make sure children are safe this summer when they are playing in or around water.

Parents need to watch their children closely when they are around water, according to Wendy Pomerantz, MD, an emergency department physician at Cincinnati Children’s and one of the coordinators for the Comprehensive Children’s Injury Center.

“Children can drown in even the smallest body of water, including toilets, decorative fountains, portable pools, buckets and bath tubs,” she said. “Anytime you have a standing body of water that is accessible, make sure you supervise your child at all times.”

Drowning rates have fallen steadily over the past 25 years, but drowning continues to be the second leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 18.

Dr. Pomerantz and the American Academy of Pediatrics give the following tips on how children can stay safe while playing around water:

  • All caregivers should learn CPR.
  • Never leave a toy in or around a pool.
  • Never leave children alone in or near a bathtub, even for a minute. There are no “bath seats” that are proven be safe and not result in drownings.
  • Never leave children alone in or near the pool; this includes inflatable and other children’s pools. An adult should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.”
  • Swimming lessons are recommended for children ages 1-4 years. New studies suggest that these children may be less likely to drown if they have had swimming lessons. Teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT guarantee your child is safe in water.
  • Make sure there is a telephone by the pool in case of an emergency.
  • If you use an inflatable or plastic pool, make sure you dump the water out of the pool after each use and turn the pool upside down when finished.
  • Install a fence at least four-feet high around all four sides of the pool. Four-sided fences can cut the drowning risk in half. Pool covers and pool alarms are not a substitute for fencing.
  • Make sure pool gates self-close and self-latch at a height small children can't reach.
  • Keep rescue equipment nearby, including a shepherd's hook (a long pole with a hook on the end) and a life preserver.
  • Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children a false sense of security.
  • Teach children to never run, push or jump on others around water.
  • Teach children never to swim alone.
  • Counsel teenagers about the increased risk of drowning when alcohol is involved.

About Cincinnati Children’s

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S.News & World Report’s 2014 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org. Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

Contact Information

Danielle Jones
(513) 636-9473 (phone)
Danielle.jones@cchmc.org