A few things parents should know about safe water.

free online Pool & Spa Safety Information at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/chdrown.html

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 350 children under 5 years of age drown each year in swimming pools, many in residential pools in the United States. The Commission estimates that another 2,600 children under age 5 are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year following submersion incidents. Some of these submersions result in permanent brain damage. Two out of three drownings happen between May and August.

But children don't only drown in backyard pools. In-ground spas and inflatable pools can also pose significant dangers. Inside the house, young children are at risk of drowning in bathtubs, large buckets and even toilets.


News Release


Below is a news release on a policy statement published in the August 2007 issue of Pediatrics, the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

For Release:
August 4, 2003, 12:01 am (ET)

CHICAGO - Multiple layers of prevention are needed to protect children and teens from drowning, according to an updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), "Prevention of Drowning in Infants, Children and Adolescents."

More than 1,400 children and teens under age 20 drowned in 1999, and drowning was the second leading cause of preventable injury death from 1990 to 1999. Many more are injured, often significantly, in near-drowning incidents.

The statement spells out the specific risks for each age group, as well as important steps to take to prevent drownings at each age. So for infants and very young children who are most likely to drown around the home, the AAP recommends the following:

  • For infants and children through age 4, parents and caregivers should never leave children alone or in the care of another young child while in bathtubs, pools, spas, wading pools or other bodies of water.
  • Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, a supervising adult should be within an arm's length providing "touch supervision."
  • Young children should not have unsupervised access to bathrooms, as they can drown in toilets. Also, bath seats or rings are not a substitute for adult supervision.
  • Gates for residential pools should be self-latching and self-closing, should open away from the pool, and should be checked often to ensure they are in good working order. Residential pools are risky for young children. Proper four-sided fencing around them could prevent 50 percent of drownings in this age group.

Older children are more likely to drown in natural bodies of water and swimming pools. In addition to adequate supervision, recommendations for this age group include:

  • Older children need to know the dangers of jumping and diving into water. Parents should know the water's depth and any underwater hazards before allowing kids to jump or dive in.
  • Children should use approved personal flotation devices when boating, fishing, or when at risk of falling into the water. Air-filled swimming aids, such as water wings, are not an adequate substitute.
  • The cold season has special risks - walking, skating, or riding on weak or thawing ice on any body of water can have tragic consequences.
  • Children should learn to swim when developmentally ready.
  • Children need to be taught never to swim alone, and never to swim without adult supervision.
  • Parents should be reminded that swimming lessons will not provide "drown proofing" for children at any age.
  • Knowing how to swim well in one body of water does not always make a child safe in another.

A new recommendation in the updated statement is for parents to be certain that everyone who will be caring for their child understands the need for constant supervision. They should know about all water-related activities in out-of-home care, and check on child-to-staff ratios (some states require certain ratios for water activities).

The statement also suggests actions that pediatricians and communities can take to strengthen laws, regulations and emergency response and reporting systems. These measures can improve future drowning prevention efforts.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This policy statement is accompanied by a technical report by the same name that can be found at http://aappolicy.aappublications.org

AAP WEBSITE http://www.aap.org EDITOR'S NOTE: The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 57,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.



2003 - American Academy of Pediatrics