Water safety and drowning prevention tips from AboutKidsHealth

July 15–19 is National Drowning Prevention Week. Learn how to keep children safe in and around water with tips from AboutKidsHealth.

Most drowning or near-drowning cases happen in backyard pools, bath tubs and inflatable pools. However, you should always supervise children near any water and keep young children within arm’s reach. Drowning can happen even in shallow water that is only inches deep and in as little as 20 seconds.

Delayed drowning

Delayed drowning can happen from one to 24 hours after a near-drowning episode. Some symptoms of delayed drowning are difficulty breathing, fever, and being moody or very sleepy. Babies and children should see a doctor after a near-drowning episode even if they appear well.

How to recognize drowning

A child in distress will be unable to yell for help, so be sure to monitor your child at all times when they are in or near water. Watch for signs of drowning, such as the head tilted back with the mouth open, floating face down or gasping for air.

What to do if you see signs of drowning

Do not put your life in danger when trying to rescue your baby or child. If you must enter the water, bring a flotation device with you, such as a life jacket or even a pool noodle.

If your child is unresponsive once out of the water, is not breathing or is only gasping, call for help and begin CPR right away. How you administer CPR will depend on your child’s age, as CPR methods are different for babies and older children. Learn more about CPR in a baby or in a child from age 1 to puberty:

To check whether your baby is responsive, rub their back, flick their feet, and call their name. If your child is older, tap them on the shoulder and ask loudly, “Are you OK?” You should also check for breathing by watching your child’s chest for movement.

Find swimming safety tips for backyard swimming pools, other pools, and lakes and rivers; boating safety tips; and bath time safety tips in the AboutKidsHealth article, “Water safety and drowning prevention”.

AboutKidsHealth is SickKids' health education website, which offers more than 3,500 articles, illustrations and videos on a range of paediatric health topics. For more information on summer safety and other health topics, visit aboutkidshealth.caJuly 15–19 is National Drowning Prevention Week. Learn how to keep children safe in and around water with tips from AboutKidsHealth.

Most drowning or near-drowning cases happen in backyard pools, bath tubs and inflatable pools. However, you should always supervise children near any water and keep young children within arm’s reach. Drowning can happen even in shallow water that is only inches deep and in as little as 20 seconds.

Delayed drowning

Delayed drowning can happen from one to 24 hours after a near-drowning episode. Some symptoms of delayed drowning are difficulty breathing, fever, and being moody or very sleepy. Babies and children should see a doctor after a near-drowning episode even if they appear well.

How to recognize drowning

A child in distress will be unable to yell for help, so be sure to monitor your child at all times when they are in or near water. Watch for signs of drowning, such as the head tilted back with the mouth open, floating face down or gasping for air.

What to do if you see signs of drowning

Do not put your life in danger when trying to rescue your baby or child. If you must enter the water, bring a flotation device with you, such as a life jacket or even a pool noodle.

If your child is unresponsive once out of the water, is not breathing or is only gasping, call for help and begin CPR right away. How you administer CPR will depend on your child’s age, as CPR methods are different for babies and older children. Learn more about CPR in a baby or in a child from age 1 to puberty:

To check whether your baby is responsive, rub their back, flick their feet, and call their name. If your child is older, tap them on the shoulder and ask loudly, “Are you OK?” You should also check for breathing by watching your child’s chest for movement.

Find swimming safety tips for backyard swimming pools, other pools, and lakes and rivers; boating safety tips; and bath time safety tips in the AboutKidsHealth article, “Water safety and drowning prevention”.

AboutKidsHealth is SickKids' health education website, which offers more than 3,500 articles, illustrations and videos on a range of paediatric health topics. For more information on summer safety and other health topics, visit aboutkidshealth.ca