Water safety and drowning prevention

Pools, lakes, ponds and beaches means summer fun and relief from the hot weather. But water can be dangerous to children if you don't take the proper precautions. You can follow these simple tips to keep your pool and vacation time fun and worry-free.

The hard facts

About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 or younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. Children ages one to four have the highest drowning rates. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children one to four than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects). Among children ages 1 to 14, fatal drowning remains a leading cause of unintentional injury-related, second only to behind motor vehicle crashes.

Top tips

  • Actively supervise your children when in or around water. When watching over young children, you should be within arm's reach at all times. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, avoid distraction and give your child your undivided attention.
  • Whether you’re swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with a partner, every time. From the start, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.
  • Keep bathroom doors and laundry areas closed. Keep toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks to prevent drowning.
  • Learn CPR. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.

Learn more

To learn more about water safety and drowning prevention, check out our literature:

Drowning and Water Safety Fact Sheet (PDF, 415 KB)
Preventing Childhood Drowning (PDF, 52 KB)

Page last updated: 12/29/2015 4:01:46 PM