Natural bodies of water
Swimming conditions can be unpredictable in ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans. Water depth can change rapidly, as can water temperature, currents and the weather. Murky water might conceal hazards. Follow these water safety tips:
- Wear a life jacket. Children and adults should wear personal flotation devices whenever riding in a boat or fishing. An air-filled swimming aid isn't a substitute for a life jacket.
- Feet first. The first descent into any body of water should be a jump — feet first. Before the jump, check water depth and temperature and look for underwater hazards.
- Stay in designated areas. At public beaches, swim only in areas set aside for swimming. Pay attention to posted warnings about unsafe swimming conditions. Don't allow children to swim in drainage ditches, abandoned surface mines or other water-filled areas not intended for swimming.
- Beware of thin ice. Drowning can occur in the winter, too. Avoid walking, skating or riding on weak or thawing ice. Pay attention to posted warnings regarding ice safety and consult a local department of recreation for current ice conditions. If you spend time on frozen lakes or rivers in winter, learn rescue techniques, such as staying off the ice and using a rope, branch or other long object to reach someone who has fallen through the ice.
Toilets, bathtubs and buckets
A baby can drown in just 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of water. A curious toddler can fall into a toilet, bucket or fish tank. Consider these precautions:
Feb. 21, 2017
- Keep the bathroom door closed. Install a safety latch or doorknob cover on the outside of the door.
- Supervise bath time. Never leave a child alone in the bathtub or in the care of another child. Drain water from the tub immediately after use.
- Shut toilet lids. Consider installing childproof locks on lids.
- Store buckets safely. Empty buckets and other containers immediately after use. Don't leave them outside, where they might accumulate water.
See more In-depth
- Residential pool safety. American Academy of Family Physicians. http://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/residential-pool.html. Accessed Nov. 7, 2016.
- Weiss J, et al. Prevention of drowning. Pediatrics. 2010;126:e253. Accessed Nov. 7, 2016.
- A parent's guide to water safety. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://patiented.solutions.aap.org/handout.aspx?gbosid=156585. Accessed Nov. 7, 2016.
- Mott TF, et al. Prevention and treatment of drowning. American Family Physician. 2016;93:576. Accessed Nov. 7, 2016.
- Unintentional drowning: Get the facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html. Accessed Oct. 31, 2016.
- Drowning risks in natural water settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsDrowningRisks/. Accessed Oct. 31, 2016.
- Water safety for your school-aged child. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://patiented.solutions.aap.org/handout.aspx?gbosid=166238. Accessed Nov. 7, 2016.
- Auerbach PS, ed. Immersion into cold water. In: Auerbach's Wilderness Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 16, 2016.