Water Safety for Spring


By: The Paranoid Sisters

Reading the news story, "Three year-old drowns in 4 inches of water," is saddening. Regardless of education programs, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign drowning remains the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1- 4 years (the second leading cause of death among children ages 14 and under). It appears the three year-old child was trying to retrieve some toys at the bottom of a 32-gallon garbage can which also had collected about four inches of water. The child fell into the can and was unable to get out. Totally sad, totally preventable.

It was about this time last year that we read that story, and as the winter months are waning and spring is blossoming our little ones are playing outside more and more. Here we'll cover water safety unrelated to swimming pools.

Some scary statistics*:

  1. For every child who drowns, an additional four are hospitalized for near-drowning and for every hospital admission, approximately four children are treated in hospital emergency rooms.
  2. More than half of drownings among infants (under age 1) occur in bathtubs. Drownings in this age group also occur in toilets and buckets.
  3. More than 327 children, 89 percent between the ages of 7 and 15 months, have drowned in buckets containing water or other liquids used for mopping floors and other household chores since 1984.
  4. Approximately 10 percent of childhood drownings occur in bathtubs; and the majority of these occur in the absence of adult supervision.

Use these tips to keep your little ones safe around water.

  1. Never leave a child unsupervised in or around water in the home. Not even for a moment to answer the telephone. Don't rely on older siblings to supervise little ones in the tubs.
  2. Keep your shower door closed when not in use.
  3. Don't leave your toddler alone on the potty. Keep the toilet seat down or put locks on if possible (locks may be difficult if you have older children who are not able to operate them).
  4. Keep the bathroom door closed when not in use so infants and toddlers don't have access without help from an adult.
  5. Empty buckets of liquids immediately after use and store buckets upside down so water can not collect in them.
  6. Survey your yard before letting your child out to play. Empty out any water that has collected in any buckets, garbage cans, toys, wheelbarrows, etc.

A little common sense and a few minutes of prevention patrol can save your child's life.

*Source: National SAFE KIDS Campaign

About the authors: Lisa Carter and Lori Marques are real sisters and California natives. Together, they have five children. Their book, Child Safety Made Easy, is a compilation of three years of research on death and injury to children and is available in English and Spanish. Also known as The Paranoid Sisters, Carter and Marques frequently speak at parent conferences, on radio programs and are resources for newspaper and magazine articles. Visit their site at http://paranoidsisters.com.

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