Drowning happens silently.
A drowning child can’t speak or control their arms. They slip quietly under the water. It’s only in the movies they splash about and cry for help. It’s a scary thought.
But once you understand how and where drowning happens, there are things you can do to prevent it and you can download the Watch Out in Water Fact Sheet.
- Babies and small children – mostly drown at home in the bath or in the garden, in just a few centimetres of water.
- Older children – can still get into difficulties. They may over-estimate how strong a swimmer they are or under-estimate risks in the sea or open water.
• Bath seats are great for supporting your baby in the bath but they’re not safety aids – a baby shouldn’t be left alone in one even for a moment as they can slip out
• Get everything you need ready before bath time because you’ll need to stay with your baby or young child all the time they’re in the bath
• Don’t rely on your toddler to keep an eye on the baby while you pop out for a towel, as they’re still too young to understand danger.
In the garden
• Empty the paddling pool out after you’ve used it
• Turn a pond into a sandpit, or fence it in or cover it while your children are little
• Make sure your child can’t get to the neighbour’s pond
• Be alert to ponds or pools when visiting other people’s homes
Out and about
• Teach older children to choose safe places to swim like public pools and beaches with lifeguards
• Explain the dangers of swimming in open water, including strong currents, deep, cold water and things under the surface they can’t see.
At the beach
• Teach children to swim between the two-coloured red and yellow flags – these mark the areas patrolled by lifeguards
• Inflatables can be swept out to sea when the wind is blowing – keep children off inflatables when the orange windsock is flying and always keep an eye on them.