Toddlers love to play in water. They are mesmerised by the turquoise blue ripples that shimmer, splash, and make things float, but they are too young to understand how dangerous it can be! Toddlers are at a higher risk of drowning than children of any other age group, making it crucial to maintain water safety for kids.
Are swimming pools the only water-related risk for toddlers?
No! Toddlers can drown in as little as one or two inches of water. As a result, water safety for kids is more than just pool safety; it also includes bathroom water safety and other unimaginable things like drainage ditches, run-off areas, fountains, and catchment ponds. Children under the age of one year are more likely to drown in bathtubs, toilets, and buckets, whereas children aged one to four years are more likely to drown in swimming pools and spas. As a result, when taking their children near any body of water, whether it's a bathtub, a pool, or a fish pond, parents should be aware of water safety tips for toddlers.
When is it safe to take the baby into the pool?
Babies can be taken to the pool as soon as they are born. They may, however, become overly cold or contract an infection. Wait until your baby is about two months old before taking your baby to the pool—but don’t spend more than 10 minutes in the pool at first. Babies under one year old should not be in water for more than 30 minutes.
If your baby is under a year old, you can enrol in a parent-baby water class for fun and to get your baby used to being in the water. Swimming lessons can begin as early as one year old for babies to introduce water safety for kids with basic swimming skills. Classes for children under three years old should take place in a pool that is kept at a temperature of 30 °C to 34 °C.
Swimming readiness is not solely determined by age. Other factors considered include the baby's proximity to water; physical, emotional, and developmental readiness; interest in learning to swim; and comfort level in water. Your paediatrician can advise you on whether your baby is ready to swim.
Water Safety For Toddlers: Tips Every Parent Should Be Aware of & Follow
The following are some water safety tips for toddlers every parent should know:
- Babies can not swim! Pay close attention and stay within arm’s reach whenever your baby is in or around water.
- Secure your home with safety gates and door locks to prevent your baby from wandering outside unnoticed.
- Install safety locks on toilet lids and keep them down.
- Keep the bathroom doors closed, and install safety latches or doorknob covers.
- Empty tubs, buckets, and other containers when not in use.
- Never leave your baby under the supervision of another child.
- Avoid other activities such as reading or texting while your baby is in or near water.
- Join a first aid course to learn swim safety for toddlers and safe rescue techniques, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), an emergency procedure to save a life when the heartbeat and breathing have stopped.
- If you have a pool or spa in your home, ensure that it is properly fenced and that pool alarms are installed.
- Do not let your baby swallow the water in a bathtub or pool, as it is unfit for drinking and may cause infections.
All about aquatic toys and floaters
Aquatic toys or pool toys, such as inflatable balls, noodles, and rings, are great sources of entertainment in the water. But are floaties safe for toddlers?
Although they are fun, these toys pose a risk as they lure young children towards the pool. Toys such as floaties can also give parents a false impression of their child's swimming ability, preventing them from actively supervising their child. Floatation devices, such as rubber rings, can also cause the baby to topple headfirst into water. Thus, it is important to select pool toys according to your child’s age and weight and store them securely after use to ensure water safety.
Babies can scoot off in search of adventure in the blink of an eye. By taking proper precautions for water safety for kids, you can keep them protected and happy!
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Drowning prevention for curious toddlers: what parents need to know .
- KidsHealth from Nemours. Water safety .
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. Babies and swimming .
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Swim lessons: when to start & what parents should know .
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Pool dangers and drowning prevention―when it’s not swimming time .