Safe Kids of Virginia  

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Summer Water Safety TipsHey mom watch

  • During the hot, lazy days of summer everyone likes to play in the water.

  • Swimming is a great activity, but did you know that drowning is the No. 2 cause of childhood injuries nationwide in children 14 and under? 

  • In 2003, nearly 4,200 of these children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for accidental drowning-related incidents.

  • According to a recent study, nearly nine in 10 drowning-related deaths occurred while a child was being supervised.

  • Children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so they are at risk in bathtubs, toilets, pools, spas — and even buckets with water or cleaning solution.Summer Water safety

  • To prevent drownings around pools and hot tubs:

    • Never take your eyes off of children or leave them unattended in or around the pool.

    • Stay alert and avoid distractions such as reading or talking on the telephone.

    • Appoint a designated water watcher, taking turns with other adults.

    • Erect fencing on all sides of the pool or hot tub. The fence should be at least 5 feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.

    • When a hot tub is not in use, secure it with a locked cover.

    • Consider alarms for the pool/hot tub, and on doors and windows with access to the pool/hot tub.

    • Teach children to stay away from pool and hot tub drains; tie back long hair to guard against entanglement and entrapment.

    • To avoid entanglement or entrapment, install anti-entrapment drain covers and consider a safety vacuum release system.

    • Enroll your child in swimming lessons after age four when they are more likely to retain information.

    • Don’t rely on water wings or other inflatable toys.

    • Find out when and where diving is allowed. Never dive in water less than nine feet deep.

    • Learn infant and child CPR and keep life-saving equipment by the pool or hot tub.

  • Kid with life jacketTo prevent drownings around open water:

    • Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when swimming or participating in water sports.

    • Make sure the life jacket fits snugly and doesn’t allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through the neck opening.

  • Teach children how to tread water, float and swim out of a cross-current.

  • Learn infant and child CPR and keep life-saving equipment accessible.

For more information, read about water safety and visit

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Children's Hospital of Richmond
VCU Health System
Safe Kids Virginia
401 N. 12th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23298-5917
Phone: (804) 628-2077
Fax: (804) 827-1748
Updated 09/13/2012
Created by VCU University Relations