Water Safety for Infants
Watching your baby grow and learn is so exciting! A baby’s abilities change dramatically over the months and years, and it’s important for you to be aware of the best ways to keep it safe around the water as he or she grows. Most incidents involving infants and the water happen in the bathtub. An adult should always be present in the room during bath time. Prevent a potential incident and pick up a Tubby Tag.
Once your baby is crawling, the world is filled with places to explore! When it is mobile, even a simple bucket of mop water can be a drowning risk. Help your baby to satisfy its curiosity by giving it a safe environment at home. Just as bathtubs can be a hazard for your baby, containers of water with even a small amount of water can be dangerous too, like buckets, ice chests, or large animal water containers. To keep him or her safe, put containers of water out of reach, and empty containers when you are finished using them.
Having layers of protection is critical. Follow these ABC’s of Water Safety: Adult supervision, Barriers between children and the water, and Classes in CPR for adults.
Tips for your child around a pool or hot tubs
- Learn how to better supervise your infant beside the pool. See these Water Watchers Pool Safety Tips.
- Keep your infant safe - child-proofing your home and backyard is more important than ever.
- Portable or inflatable pools can be found in many stores. While inexpensive, these can be potentially dangerous for your infant.
- The drain in your tub and pool can be a hazard.
The drain in your bath tub or pool can be a hazard. In 2002, seven-year old Virginia Graeme Baker drown as a result of a faulty drain at the bottom of a tub. Federal legislation was eventually enacted to improve safety. The act created guidelines for safer drain covers, suction systems, and drain system designs, preventing entrapment injuries and deaths.
- Drain cover(s) that comply with ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 standards. Covers more than a few months old likely need to be replaced, and the cost of a new cover is approximately $50.
- Drain cover(s) that are labeled "VGB 2008" or "ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007".
- Drain cover(s) should be at least three feet apart, from edge to edge.
- If a pool or spa has a single main drain, or if the drain covers are to close together, families should install a "Suction Valve Release system". This system monitors the water flow, and if a vacuum occurs, such as when a child covers the drain with thief stomach or backside, the system automatically shuts off so the vacuum is released.
Portable or inflatable pools can be found here in just about every grocery or hardware store you enter. But are they safe? Not unless you drain the pool completely after every use, or fence it as you would an in-ground pool.
The American Academy of Pediatrics addressed the issue in their policy for the prevention of child drownings stated, “many parents do not consider fencing for an inflatable or portable pool. Because they contain such large amounts of water, these pools are often left filled for weeks at a time, which presents a continuous danger.”
And Consumer Reports agreed, advising parents, “Don’t buy an inflatable pool unless you plan to empty it immediately after each use.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics published another article addressing portable pools in 2011, in short, saying that the use of portable pools in residential settings poses a significant risk of drowning for children.
CPR and choosing a babysitter wisely
When you choose a babysitter for your infant, make sure the caregiver is old enough to handle this important responsibility, CPR-trained, and able to make a rescue if necessary. Explain all your safety rules, and encourageand inflatable your babysitter to call you with questions.
Keep your CPR certification current. Knowing what to do in a water-related emergency can save a life. Take CPR regularly with a credible organization, and review the materials twice a year.