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Safe Kids Canada: You can prevent Drowning

From Safe Kids Canada

Stay with young children at all times when they are near water or in water.

Young children most often drown in these water hazards:
  • home swimming pools
  • bathtubs
  • rivers and lakes
  • hot tubs, ditches, ponds, sewage lagoons, canals
Safety check
Always stay right beside your child under 5 when he or she is in the water or close to water. This includes the bathtub. Make sure you can see your child at all times. Do not leave him or her alone, not even for a few seconds.
If there is a water hazard nearby, do not leave your child under 5 in the care of an older child without adult supervision.
If you have a swimming pool, make sure it is properly fenced in and has a gate that closes and latches by itself (called a self-closing, self-latching gate).

Did you know?
  • Young children are at high risk of drowning because they can move quickly but do not understand danger.
  • A baby or young child can drown in only 5 centimetres (2 inches) of water!
The facts on preventing Drowning

Water hazards
Check for water hazards near your home. Do whatever is possible to keep your child safe from the water. For example, if you have a water hazard on your property (such as a pond), put a high fence around it so that your child cannot reach it.

If you have a child under 5, do not choose a vacation cottage or campsite that is right on the water.

Always stay right beside your child under 5 when he or she is in the bathtub. Do not leave him or her alone, not even for a few seconds.

Use a small baby bathtub to wash your baby. That way, your baby cannot slip beneath the surface of the water.

Do not use an infant tub seat. A baby can drown if the seat tips over.

Swimming safety
Children learn to swim at different ages. Your child always needs close adult supervision when he or she is swimming or playing in water.

Swimming and water safety lessons are important and useful. A good swimming program will teach water safety as well as swimming skills. Check with your local recreation centre for courses in your area.

Swimming lessons will not necessarily protect your child from drowning. Children who have had swimming lessons may be too confident and take more risks. Do not assume that your child will be able to swim without your supervision.

Hold on to your baby at all times in the water.

Do not use floating toys such as inner tubes or water wings in water that is deeper than your child’s knees. They give your child a false sense of security.

Swimming pools
If you have a pool, make sure that:
  • it is completely surrounded by a fence
  • the fence is at least 1.2 metres (4 feet) high
  • the gates close and latch by themselves (called self-closing, self-latching gates)
  • there is a wireless telephone nearby
  • safety equipment is close by (such as a life ring, rope, personal flotation device)
  • at least one member of your family is trained in first aid and CPR
Hot tubs
Do not let children under 5 into a hot tub, not even with an adult.

Children can drown and they can also get sick. Water in a hot tub can have a high level of bacteria. The water may also be too hot for your child.

Cover your hot tub tightly when you are not using it. Your child should not be able to open the hot tub cover.

Personal flotation devices (PFDs)
Make sure your child wears a personal flotation device at all times when he or she is in a boat or on a dock. Check the label to make sure that it is the right size for your child. The personal flotation device should also have a label that says it meets Canadian safety standards.

For extra safety, put your child in a personal flotation device when he or she plays in or near the water (such as at a beach, on a dock, or in a swimming pool).

For more information, call Safe Kids Canada at 1 800 SAFE TIPS or visit

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