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Water Safety Tips

Each year, approximately 200 children drown and several thousand others are treated in hospitals for submersion accidents and accidents which leave children with permanent brain damage and respiratory health problems.

Remember, it only takes a few seconds for a small child to wander away. Children have a natural curiosity and attraction to water.

Keeping Children Safe In, On, and Around the Water

  • Maintain constant supervision. Watch children around any water environment (pool, stream, lake, tub, toilet, bucket of water), no matter what skills your child has acquired and no matter how shallow the water.
  • Don't rely on substitutes. The use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.
  • Enroll children in a water safety course or a swimming lesson program. Your decision to provide your child with an early aquatic experience is a gift that will have infinite rewards.
  • Parents should take a CPR course. Knowing these skills can be important around the water and you will expand your capabilities in providing care for your child.

General Water Safety Tips

  • Learn to swim.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Swim in a designated area and make sure an adult watches you.
  • Wear a life jacket:
    • Children 0-5: Put your child in a life jacket when playing in or near the water, on a dock or in a boat, raft or inner tube.
    • Children 6-11: Even if your child knows how to swim, have them wear a life jacket when swimming or playing in open water outside of a life-guarded area, in a river or the ocean.
    • All ages: Children and teens should wear a life jacket any time they are on a boat, raft, inner tube or swimming in open water like lakes, rivers or the ocean.

    Life jacket safety tips provided by Seattle Children's Drowning Prevention

  • An air mattress of swim ring does not take the place of a life jacket.
  • No drugs or alcohol.
  • Obey all "No Swimming" and other warning signs.
  • Never dive or jump into unknown waters.
  • Watch out for the "dangerous too's"--too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
  • Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
  • Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies.
  • Never swim in a canal.
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