Skip to content

    Children's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Danger Below the Surface: Identifying Where Children Drown

    continued...

    Those strategies, according to a 1993 policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), include:

    • Constant supervision for infants and children when they are in or around any water;
    • Installing four-sided fences with self-closing latches around residential pools;
    • Using personal flotation devices when riding in a boat, fishing, or playing near a river, lake, or ocean;
    • Teaching children never to swim alone or without adult supervision;
    • Teaching children, especially teens, about the dangers of alcohol and drug consumption during aquatic activities;
    • Stressing the need for parents, caretakers, and teens to learn CPR;
    • Teaching all children aged 5 and older how to swim;
    • Prohibiting children under 16 from operating a personal watercraft.

    "Kids and water really spell potential danger. Just because a child may have learned to swim does not mean they are drown-proof. That is still a misconception among parents," Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, tells WebMD. Smith is the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Children's Hospital at Columbus, Ohio, and a member of the AAP's Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention.

    "Really through the teenage years you need to have supervision of children around water," says Smith, adding that there is no magic age when a child automatically should be allowed to be on his or her own. "It depends on maturity, strength, ability to think through a challenge, and coordination."

    "Each of these drownings is a tragedy, and for the most part they are largely preventable," says Brenner. "With some precautions and some increased awareness of the risks that any body of water presents, we can go a long way towards preventing these tragedies."

    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    jennifer aniston
    Slideshow
     
    Measles virus
    Article
    sick child
    Slideshow
     

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Child Coughing or Sneezing into Elbow
    Article