Water Safety

  • Water Safety at Home

Standing water presents a serious hazard both inside and outside the home. Drowning is a sudden and silent danger, and young children are especially vulnerable to drowning risk areas inside the home including toilets, bathtubs and five gallon buckets. Constant adult supervision is the most effective way to keep children safe around water. Use these additional safety precautions to keep your children away from potential water hazards.

  • Always stay within touch supervision - keeping kids within an arm's reach -- when your children are around standing water at home. This includes buckets, bathtubs, toilets and spas.

  • Always supervise young children during bath time. Never allow older siblings to supervise children in or around standing water.

  • Baby bath seats are not a safety device and should never substitute for adult supervision.

  • Drain the bathtub immediately after using.

  • Do not store electrical appliances such as blow dryers and radios near sinks and tubs. Keep these out of children's reach at all times.

  • Set your water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below to reduce the risk of burns and scalds from hot tap water.

  • When bathing children, turn the cold water on first and then add warm water.

  • Keep bathroom doors closed and use door knob covers to prevent young children from accessing bathrooms.

  • Use toilet seat locks and keep toilet lids shut.

  • Be sure all buckets are emptied immediately after use and turned over with the opening face down.

  • Store large buckets out of children's reach.

  • Scald Prevention

A scald is an injury caused by hot liquid or steam and according to Shriners Hospitals for Children, children under age 5 are at highest risk for scald injuries from hot liquids. People of all ages can be burned by liquid at 140 degrees Fahrenheit in as few as thirty seconds. It takes only five seconds for a young child to be injured by 140 degree liquid; and only one second at 160 degrees. Follow this simple advice to help reduce the risk of scald injuries at home:

  • Lower water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Ask the building owner to lower the temperature for you if you rent. If you own your home, you can often adjust your own water heater. Check with the utility company for instructions.

  • When bathing children, use a water thermometer to ensure the temperature is safe. Turn the cold water on first, then mix in warmer water and keep the temperature at about 100 Fahrenheit.

  • Stay within an arm's reach of young children any time they are near standing water.

  • Use heavy oven mitts and hot pads when cooking. Avoid using a wet towel to hold a hot pan because the heat from the pan can build steam, causing a scald injury.

  • Test heated food and bottles before feeding children.

  • Microwaved food gets hot very fast. Heated food and steam can cause an injury. Use caution when removing food from the microwave and when taking the covers off of heated plates. Pull covers away from you, not toward you.

  • Microwaving heats food from the inside out. Cut open heated foods and test them before feeding children.

  • Turn pot handles toward to back of the range. When drinking hot beverages, keep the container away from the edge of tables and counters so children can't reach them.

  • Be aware that toddlers can pull tablecloths down, spilling hot beverages and food onto them. When using tablecloths, center food and beverages in the middle of the table. Don't place hot beverages on lower tables, where children can easily reach them.

  • Avoid drinking hot beverages when you are holding a young child. Using a "commuter mug" with a tight-fitting lid can help reduce a hot spill if the beverage tips over.

Treat a minor burn injury immediately with cool running water for 3-5 minutes. Do not apply ice, which can harm the skin. Do not apply butter or lotions, because this can keep the skin temperature hot, increasing the injury. Apply a sterile bandage to the injured area. If the scald is serious, seek medical treatment immediately.

  • Swimming Safety

According to The State of Home Safety in America report, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury related death. Drowning is a silent and sudden event, and research found that many drowning deaths at home are related to swimming pools. Since drowning victims often do not make any noise once in distress, constant supervision around any body of water is critical. Adopt the following guidelines to help keep your pool area safe:

  • Install four-sided fencing with self-locking and self-closing gates. Fencing should completely isolate the pool from the home and be least five feet high.

  • Always keep gates closed and latched. Never prop a gate open or disable the lock.

  • Always practice constant, adult supervision around any body of water, including pools and spas. Never leave your child alone or in the care of another child.

  • When hosting a pool party, assign specific adults to keep an eye on the pool at all times.

  • Enroll non-swimmers in swimming lessons taught by a qualified instructor.

  • Remember that regardless of age or skill level, no one is "drown proof." Children should always be supervised by an adult while they are swimming.

  • Never swim alone. Even adults should swim with a buddy.

  • Learn and practice basic lifesaving techniques, including First Aid and CPR. Insist that anyone who cares for your children learn CPR.

  • Keep poolside rescue equipment and a cordless, water resistant telephone close to the pool area.

  • Post emergency numbers and CPR instructions near the pool area.

  • Teach children that drains, grates and filters are not toys. Never stick fingers or toes in these openings and stay away from suction devices.

  • Always remove toys from the pool area when not in use.

  • Post safety rules in a highly visible location. Make sure children are familiar with the rules.

  • Keep spas and hot tubs covered and locked when not in use.

  • Completely remove pool and spa covers prior to swimming.

  • Stay out of the pool during severe weather and thunderstorms, especially if lightning is forecast or present.

  • If a child is missing, check the pool area first.

  • Pool Security and Maintenance

According to The State of Home Safety in America report drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury related death and many of these incidents involve swimming pools and spas. Use safety precautions to avoid injuries in and around a pool or spa at home:

  • Always practice adult supervision around any body of water. Older children should not be left in charge of younger children in the pool area.

  • Install four-sided fencing that blocks direct access to the pool from the home. Four-sided pool fencing with self-latching and self-locking gates is proven to be an effective drowning prevention intervention.

  • Pool fencing should be at least five feet high and have self locking and self closing gates.

  • Position gate latches out of the reach of young children.

  • Never prop the gate open or disable the latch.

  • Do not leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over it.

  • Clear debris, clutter and pool toys from the pool deck and adjoining pathways to prevent slips and falls.

  • Keep a cordless, water resistant telephone with emergency numbers posted in the pool area.

  • Keep poolside rescue equipment close by. Equipment should include a sturdy, lightweight pole measuring at least 10-12 feet and a ring buoy with line. Do not permit children to play with these tools.

  • Keep a life vest approved by the U.S. Coast Guard on hand. Poor and inexperienced swimmers should be required to wear a life vest while swimming.

  • Use plastic ware instead of glassware in the pool area.

  • As a supplemental safety precaution, consider using a pool alarm to alert you if someone falls into the pool. Recent studies show that sub surface pool alarms are most effective. These alarms are not substitutes for adult supervision of children.

  • Keep spa and hot tub covers locked when not in use.

  • Remove excess water from pool and spa covers.

  • Always completely remove pool covers before swimming.

  • Chlorine-based pool care products could be explosive and can easily combust if not handled correctly. Always follow manufacturer's instructions when using pool chemicals and store chemicals in a dry place away from heat sources.

  • Lock all pool chemicals in a secure cabinet out of children's reach.

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