Prevent Drowning at Home

Many of us have the misconception that drowning only occurs at swimming pools or beaches, but did you know that children can drown at home in as little as a few inches of water? Drowning is fast and it can happen in less than a minute, sometimes in the blink of an eye. Drowning is silent and you may only realise something is wrong when it is too late. By being aware of the risks, you can eliminate any potential drowning hazards in the household.

In collaboration with KKH Injury Prevention Working Group, click here for key water safety tips for parents and children.

Here are more tips on how to make your home water safe!

  • Never leave your child alone in the bathroom, especially in the bathtub, even for a moment. Take your child along with you if you need to answer the phone or door.
  • Keep pails, toilet bowls and basins in your bathroom covered or if possible empty and turned over when not in use. Drain the bathtub immediately after use, keep toilet lids closed at all times. Children may climb into a pail, toilet or basin of water and drown.
  • Children depend on adults for their safety. Learn basic life-saving techniques (CPR) to save a drowning child. Performing life saving measures before the ambulance arrives can mean the difference between life and death for a child.

Prevent Drowning in the Swimming Pool

Swimming can provide great enjoyment and a workout for the whole family. However, drowning is the leading cause of injury related death for young children ages 1 to 4. Here are some safety precautions that one should take when at the pool.

  • Always accompany children when they are swimming. Children should have an able bodied adult within arm’s length when they are in the pool to provide prompt help if needed. Pay full attention to the child. Don’t be distracted by your phone, electronic device or magazine or in conversation with others.
  • Make sure that the water level does not exceed your child’s chest level when she or he is standing upright in the pool. Always check the water depth and temperature, and look out for underwater hazards. 
  • Floats and other swimming aids help prevent accidents but they do not prevent drowning. They are not a substitute for constant parental supervision as these swimming aids may become detached resulting in child drowning. Do check that swimming aids are in good working condition and fully inflate them before use.
  • Teach your child to swim as soon as they are old enough to do so. Learn how to swim if you don’t know so you can help your child if they need help in the water.
  • If the weather turns bad, leave the pool immediately. Do not wait until you get a signal from the lifeguard.
  • Take note of the locations of the lifeguards and rescue aids. Make sure your child knows them too.
  • It is best for pools to have a four-sided fencing of at least 1.2m tall that can be latched to prevent children from entering the pool unsupervised. 
  • Supervise children who are playing near the pool to prevent accidental unsupervised entry into the pool. Learn CPR and learn to recognize signs of distress in water. Drowning is silent and only close observation can identify a distressed child in time to prevent them from drowning.
  • Supervise your child at all times, whether at home, at the playground or in and near the pool.

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