Tips to Prevent Your Child From Drowning

Dr. Robert Baron, MD, is an emergency physician at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix. For more information on this topic, talk with your doctor or call (602) 230-2273 (CARE).

Question: What steps can I take to keep my kids safe around water?

Answer: With temperatures climbing and pools warming up, swimming season is here and children are already spending time in the water. Our climate makes pool time an ideal summer activity, but it is important to be prepared around the water and understand the rules of pool safety. Following are some guidelines for drowning prevention:

  • Maintain eye-to-eye contact with any child in the water. This means having at least one adult assigned to watch each child in a pool.
  • Never leave any child unattended in the water, even if the child knows how to swim.
  • Always accompany your child to new or unfamiliar pools. The best swimmers can panic in new environments.
  • Keep a cell phone nearby in case of emergency, but devote 100 percent of your attention to the children in the water.
  • Register your children for swim lessons that include water survival training, such as learning to float on their backs until help arrives.
  • Learn CPR and make sure all other adults or caregivers who spend time with your children know it as well.
  • Keep pools and other water areas secured with fences, gates and protective structures.
  • Always use lifejackets when boating on lakes or rivers. If you’re on a boat with an engine, identify the engine exhaust location. If it’s at the rear of the boat, do not let anyone near that area, including the swim platform and water around it.
  • Empty buckets, inflatable pools or tubs of water immediately following use. Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.
  • Lifeguards at public pools or water parks cannot be the sole protection for your child. While these individuals are highly trained, they are responsible for watching many people at the same time and cannot provide the one-on-one attention necessary to keep kids safe. Think of a lifeguard only as an extra set of eyes.
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