Drowning Prevention

Drowning is the leading cause of death and disability in California for children under 5 years of age.

Drowning is preventable. Anyone can drown.

Drowning can be fast and silent, occurring without a struggle or splash. Young children are more at risk and can drown in any body of water, including a bucket, bathtub, sink, pool or spa.

Drowning Prevention is most effective with a “layers of protection” approach:

  • Never leave a child alone near water, even for a few seconds.
  • A supervising adult should be close enough to touch the child under 4 years old near water.
  • Designate at least one adult “water watcher” at all times. If you’re with a group, have adults take turns.
  • All collections of water are dangerous for infants and toddlers including bathtubs, buckets, toilets, ponds, spas, swimming pools, and natural water sites.
  • Swimming pools should have fences, alarms, and drains that meet regulations.
  • Pool gates should be self-latching, opening outward, with the latch out-of-reach for a child.
  • Keep reaching and throwing aids near a swimming pool.
  • Teach kids survival swimming skills.
  • Kids that are not strong swimmers should wear well-fitting life jackets. (But be aware they don’t make your child drown-proof — still keep constant watch.)
  • Set water safety rules for the whole family — for example, kids should never swim alone, inexperienced swimmers should stay in water less than chest deep, don’t dive into water less than 9 feet deep, stay away from pool drains, pipes and other openings, etc.
  • Parents and child caregivers should know how to perform rescue techniques and strategies to respond in an emergency.
    If a child is missing, check the pool first.
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