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Water safety and drowning

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Staying Safe in and Around Water

Drowning is a leading cause of death among people of all ages. Learning and practicing water safety is important to prevent drowning accidents.

Water Safety

Water safety tips for all ages include:

Do not drink alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children around water.

When boating, know local weather conditions and forecasts. Watch for dangerous waves and rip currents.

Children and Water Safety

Put a fence around all home swimming pools.

When leaving the pool, put away all toys from the pool and deck. This helps remove temptation for children to enter the pool area.

At least one responsible adult should supervise young children when they swim or play in or around water.

Teach your children to swim. But understand that this alone will not prevent young children from drowning. Air-filled or foam toys (wings, noodles, and inner tubes) are not a replacement for life jackets when boating or when your child is in open water.

Prevent drowning around the home:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Drowning prevention. Updated June 16, 2021. Accessed December 6, 2021. website. Drowning prevention for curious toddlers: what parents need to know. Updated March 15, 2019. Accessed December 6, 2021.

Thomas AA, Caglar D. Drowning and submersion injury. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 91.


Review Date: 8/10/2021  

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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