Loma Linda University Children's Hospital - Safe Kids - Water Safety

Safe Kids

Water safety


  • Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death of children. Most drownings and near-drownings happen when a child accidentally falls into a pool or is left alone in the tub.
  • Drownings happen in a matter of seconds. A child can drown in the time it takes to answer the phone.
  • Never leave a child alone or with a sibling in the tub . . . not even to answer the phone or to get a towel. If you must leave, take the child with you.
  • Always watch your child by the pool, spa, beach, or lake. Beware of backyard pools and spas in the neighborhood. Your child could wander off and accidentally fall in. Install a poolside telephone.
  • Enroll children over age 3 in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors. Keep in mind that lessons don't make your child "drown-proof."
  • Never let older children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals, or ponds. Older kids are at risk of drowning when they overestimate their ability or underestimate how deep the water is.
  • Install a four-sided fence around your pool or spa. The house should not be used as one of the four sides. The fence should be five feet high and have a self-closing and self-latching gate.
  • Be aware that children can crawl out of doggie doors.
  • Watch your animal's water dishes; children can drown in them.

Key rules for swimmers

  • Swim with a buddy, never alone.
  • Don't dive or jump into bodies of water. Always wade in first to avoid hitting your head on a shallow bottom.
  • Don't push or jump on others.
  • Be prepared for an emergency. Make sure proper safety equipment is located near the pool.
  • Make sure everyone knows CPR and how to call 911.

Safe Kids table of contents