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Water Safety Rules for Toddlers

Adult supervision

Never allow a toddler near a pool, bathtub, pond, ocean, river or even shallow standing water without close adult supervision. A lack of supervision is the main factor in toddler drownings in 70 percent of cases, according to Child and Youth Health. Proper supervision should include the ability to reach out and touch the child in the event that they need help. Merely watching the child as he plays by the edge of the river is not adequate supervision for children of this age.

At pool parties, when many children are in and out of the pool, it may be difficult to keep an eye on your child constantly with all of the activity. In this situation, designate an adult to be the pool watcher, acting as a lifeguard in the event that someone needs help. Older children, even teenagers, are not ideal supervisors because they lack the perception and emergency skills necessary.


Barricade any area of a home where a potential water danger exists, such as a pool or spa, with a toddler-proof gate or a safely locked door. Children at this age develop new abilities quickly, so it is important to know if a toddler is able to suddenly climb over a fence, unlock a door or otherwise slip out to the water unnoticed. Maintain these doors and gates to ensure this doesn't happen.

Know CPR

New parents would be very wise to become certified in infant and child CPR. Knowing this skill could mean the difference in saving a child's life and helplessly waiting for an ambulance to arrive. In the case of submersion injuries, children become unable to breathe and cannot get oxygen to the brain. In the time it takes an ambulance to arrive, the oxygen deficiency may have already done irreversible damage and could result in death.

Toys out

Toddlers love toys, and they can spot them from a great distance. The bright-colored floats or balls used for pool recreation are bait for a child of this age. They will do what they can to get to the toys and will sometimes try to reach into the water to get them, resulting in a fall. Keep toys out of the water when not in use.

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