Among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years old, who are more likely than other children to drown in a pool. Children five years and older are more likely to drown in natural water, such as ponds, lakes and rivers. Among those ages 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.
- Watch children when they are in or around water, without being distracted. Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult. Make sure older children swim with a partner every time.
- Teach children how to swim. Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development and how often they are around water.
- Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. They need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.
- Know what to do in an emergency. Learning CPR and basic water rescue skills may help you save a child’s life.
Water Survival Skills
Make sure children develop the following water survival skills:
- Step or jump into water over their heads and return to the surface.
- Float or tread water for one minute.
- Turn around in a full circle and find an exit.
- Swim 25 yards to the exit and get out of the water.
- If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.