The toddler years have the highest drowning risk because, for children and toddlers, water is a lovely medium for play. Little ones have no fear and don’t realize it can be a danger to them as well. It is up to parents and adults to ensure the safety of our children.
Families with toddlers face more significant drowning threats due to unsupervised access to water. Sixty-nine percent of all drownings in children age 4 and younger happen during non-swim access to water.
What can I do?
Lower the risk of drowning by creating layers of safety to keep your little one safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children, wear a life jacket always when swimming, fishing, or even strolling near a body of water. Never assume floaties or floatable toys can substitute for a life jacket.
Keep toddlers within arms reach when in water. Monitoring them from afar is a common reason for toddler drownings. It only takes a few seconds for a child to slide or lose balance into the water, and when they do, they sink fast!
Follow designated areas for swimming and always pay attention to warnings about unsafe areas for swimming. Never allow children to swim in ditches or any water-filled areas not intended for swimming.
Avoid walking on frozen bodies of water, especially unmarked or off-winter-trail areas. Although this activity can be fun and exciting, we can never tell the delicateness of the frozen surface or the depth of overflow (water on top of the ice but under snow cover).
At home, always remember that even the shallowest pool of water can be dangerous to your young child; inches of water can drown a baby while a toddler can easily fall into the tub, bucket or fish tank in a split-second. Therefore, adding extra safety precautions such as the ones below might save your child from drowning.
- Keeping bathroom doors shut and baby-proofed by installing a safety latch.
- Cover toilet lids shut with childproof locks.
- Keep buckets away from a child’s reach.
- Never leave your child unattended in the tub or shower.
In addition, learn basic life support (BLS) techniques for babies and toddlers. BLS techniques for children and toddlers are different from adults and can help save a life while paramedics are in route.