One inch. One inch of water is all that it takes for a child to drown. One inch of water may not seem like a lot – it’s about the height of a quarter – but it can be fatal to a curious infant or toddler. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in children ages 1 to 4, so creating layers of protection is vital to help prevent tragedy.
Layers of protection look like this: constant adult supervision, physical barriers, and swimming lessons. All three of these layers provide protection for any age child at a pool or beach, but what about in your own home? Pools and other bodies of water are not the only places that drowning occurs. There are seven common household items that can be drowning risks – here is a list to check for in your own home. The good news is that there are things to do to turn them from hazards into safer items.
Obviously, you want to remain vigilant around a pool or water feature. The best scenario is to put a four-sided childproof fence around any pool, pond, or landscaping fountain so your family can enjoy time outside without worrying about little ones accidentally falling in. Consider adding an alarm on the gate and to exterior doors of your home as well.
Regularly check to see if the lock shows signs of distress from normal wear and tear. To truly provide protection, follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ suggestion to install a gate that is self-closing or self-latching that opens away from the pool, with the latch at least 54 inches from the ground. In addition, you might consider fencing in your entire backyard if it happens to back up to a creek or pond.
Not only can outdoor things be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, any pots, saucers, or other receptacles that catch rain or sprinkler water could be a dangerous spot for toddlers and infants. Remove any standing water from your yard’s environment and pay close attention to any garbage bins or buckets. Empty out any standing water as soon as possible after it rains.
Any buckets that may be used with water – like the kind used to wash your car – can be dangerous, so it’s important to dump any remaining water out immediately. Add an extra layer of safety by removing it from your child’s reach completely. This also applies to any mop bucket or buckets that contain any kind of cleaning solutions.
You may think a sandbox is the safest place for your child, but it’s not always true. Cover the sandbox after each use. These can collect rainwater as well as any wildlife droppings, so it’s best practice to cover any sandbox every time to keep out water and critters.
Your pet’s water bowls also need to be watched carefully if you have young children. Either relocate them to a room with a childproof lock or find a location that is designated as a place where your child will always have adult supervision. Pet water bowls are usually overlooked when babies start crawling and walking, but they can pose as much of a risk as a swimming pool to a toddler or infant.
Make sure to close all toilets after use and install a toilet lock on each of them. Immediately drain bathtubs after bath time, and never leave children unattended before a tub has completely drained. This is also true for any pet bathing sessions as well. Another good idea is to install doorknob safety covers on any bathroom or laundry room doors to prevent unsupervised trips to play in the toilet water.
Normally a cooler is simply a temporary minifridge for your parties, but it absolutely can be a drowning hazard. How? The ice eventually melts, and if on the ground, a toddler can easily fall in. Try to always elevate the cooler, drain it periodically, and never leave the cooler unattended. An even better idea is to install a childproof lock on it as well to keep everyone safe during family gatherings and parties.
So, these seven common household items can hold a drowning risk if you have infants or toddlers in your house. Nothing beats being vigilant around any kind of water, and the more adult eyes you have on your kiddos, the better. Periodically do room/yard safety checks at home to give yourself peace of mind and to provide an additional layer of drowning prevention for your family.
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