Water Safety | The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Kohl's Injury Prevention Program

Water Safety

Children drown in silence. Drowning is one of the most common causes of death in children ages and younger. Drowning often occurs silently when an unsupervised child is near water ― and it takes only seconds to drown.

Although most drowning incidents occur in residential swimming pools, children can drown in just 1 inch of water, such as in buckets, bath tubs, wading pools, diaper pails and toilets. In addition, hot tubs, spas and open waters, such as oceans, rivers and lakes, pose a drowning threat to older children.

Consider these facts about drowning:

Water safety – prevention

Follow these preventive steps to help protect children from drowning:

Water safety tips by age group

Infants (up to 1 year of age)

More than half of drowning incidents among infants less than 1 year of age occur in bathtubs or large buckets. Supportive baby bathtub "rings" do not prevent drowning incidents if the child is unsupervised. Water hazards in and around the home may include the following:

The following are some drowning prevention tips to help keep your small children safe:

Preschoolers (1 to 5 years of age)

Children between the ages of 1 to 4 most often drown in swimming pools, either at the child's home or at a friend's, neighbor's or relative's house. This often occurs when the preschooler wanders away from the house and into the pool, without parents being aware of the child's absence. Children can slip into swimming pools without a sound or splash.

Pools are especially hazardous if:

Swimming pool safety

To protect your child from drowning in a swimming pool, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers the following tips:

School-age children (5 to 12 years of age)

Children in this age group are more likely to drown in bodies of waters such as oceans, lakes and rivers.

Adolescent children (12 to 18 years of age)

Although older children are more likely to know how to swim, they are at risk for drowning because they overestimate their skills and are unaware of water currents or water depth. To protect your adolescent from drowning, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers the following tips:

Reviewed by: Gina Duchossois
Date: March 2013

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Water Safety Brochure

Our Water Safety brochure is available for download in multiple languages: