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Tips for Parents: Water Safety | PDF

A child can drown in less than two minutes and drowning is the second most common cause of death from injury in children under 14 years old. With proper safety precautions, water is fun, cool in the hot summer, and a great way to exercise—for everyone in the family.

10 Family Water Safety Tips

  1. Many children drown because they fall into a pool, body of water, or even a bucket or tub, when a parent is unaware or distracted.  Be vigilant and never leave younger children where there is any standing water. 
  2. Make sure the adult supervising the child knows how to swim, how to get help, and can perform CPR.
  3. Give children swimming lessons—early.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recently lowered the age they recommend children learn to swim from 5 years to just 1 year old.  Even if your child knows how to swim, they should never be left unsupervised.
  4. ALL pools should be surrounded by a fence at least 4 feet high.  The fence should be climb-proof.  This rule applies to EVERY pool, no matter how shallow it is—even 1 ft. deep kiddie pools.
  5. Rescue equipment and a portable phone should always be kept in fast reach of the pool.
  6. No diving in water less than 6 feet deep.  Every year people break their necks and drown by diving in shallow water.  Also make certain there are no objects hidden under the water.
  7. If swimming in a river, stream or ocean, ask first about the currents.  If there are strong currents or other dangerous conditions, stay out of the water.  It's not worth the risk!
  8. Never allow anyone to swim alone.
  9. Make sure everyone in your family knows the danger of falling through thin ice in winter.
  10. Children should always wear life jackets while boating, fishing when playing or swimming in streams and lakes.  Life jackets should fit properly, be the right type for a child’s age, and be in good repair.  If you don’t own a life jacket or don’t have access to one, you can borrow one from the Life Jacket Loaner Program.
  11. Young children and non-swimmers should not be allowed to play with inflatable devices in water deeper than their waist.

For More Information:

Do Your Part, Be Water Smart from the Red Cross
Swimming safety tips for kids from

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