Playing in and around water is fun and soothing for toddlers. It can also provide great learning experiences. Your toddler may play in the bath, at the beach, or in the backyard with a wading pool, a water table, or a bucket. Water is also a good source of fun, exercise, and family time.
Protect your toddler around any water by being close enough to reach her or him. Watch your toddler at all times. Parents should buy a child‑sized life‑jacket. Check the labels for the right size and weight. Even if your toddler is wearing a life‑jacket, you still need to watch her or him carefully. Always hold on to your toddler’s hand when on a dock or near a pool. Your toddler might suddenly run toward the water.
Stay within Arm’s Reach Around Water
Drowning is one of the main causes of death among children between the ages of 12 and 48 months. It only takes seconds for a toddler to drown. You need to stay very close—within arm’s reach of your toddler, even if she or he is wearing a life‑ jacket.
Follow these water‑safety tips to make water play safer—while keeping it fun:
- Always supervise your toddler every moment that he or she is near water or in water (including the bathtub). If you must leave, even for a minute, take your toddler with you.
- Keep bathroom doors closed, put the toilet lid down, and use a toilet seat lock so your toddler cannot fall in the toilet.
- Do not leave water in a bucket or other container near your toddler.
Never leave your toddler alone in the bathtub.
- Test the temperature of bathwater with your elbow. It should be warm, not hot.
- Do not let your toddler play with the hot water tap.
- Teach your toddler to sit, not stand, in the bathtub.
- Bath rings and bath seats are not recommended. They have been linked to childhood injuries and drowning.
Swimming lessons may help your toddler develop confidence, be physically active, and learn to enjoy the water. But don’t assume that swimming lessons will make your toddler safe in the water. There is no evidence to support this. You still need to supervise your toddler in the water and stay within arm’s reach.
Swimming Pools and Garden Ponds
- Empty your toddler’s yard pool when it’s not in use and turn it upside down so rainwater won’t collect in it.
- Remember that flotation devices, such as water wings or air mattresses, will not keep your toddler safe.
- Put a life‑jacket on your toddler when around water or boats. Use only a government‑approved life‑jacket, and make sure it is the right size. Set a good example by always wearing a life‑jacket when you are in a boat.
- Cover and lock your hot tub when it’s not in use.
- Your toddler can very easily become overheated and should not be allowed in a hot tub.
- Make sure your swimming pool is properly fenced with a fence that is 120 cm (4 ft.) high on all four sides, and there is a self‑latching, spring‑locked gate that your toddler cannot open.
- A pool alarm is not enough to keep your toddler safe. By the time you hear the alarm, it could be too late. Your toddler must be supervised at all times when near water.
- Teach your toddler about safe play around the pool or pond (no running, pushing, diving, or unsupervised swimming).
- Remove all children’s riding toys from around the pool or pond.
- Always clear away chairs, toys, tables, or other things that your toddler could use to climb into a fenced pool or pond area or an above‑ground pool.
- Empty your pool at the end of the season, and cover it securely with an approved tarp. Keep pool or pond covers drained.
- Make sure all pool chemicals are safely stored and locked away.
Life‑jackets or PFDs?
Life‑jackets are made to turn a person face‑up so his or her mouth is out of the water. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) do not have the ability to always turn a person face‑up. They also do not float as well as a lifejacket, and can give a false sense of security.