Water Safety

Most recently, the CDC has reported that there were over 1000 drowning-related deaths among children under 19 years old in the Unites States in 2010.  According to the Department of Public Health, in 2011, the most recent publicly available data, there were 27 drowning-related deaths in Georgia for children 14 years of age and younger.

Many drowning incidents occur in swimming pools, but lakes, rivers and oceans can also be dangerous. Children playing in smaller bodies of water, such as wading pools, bathtubs, buckets, toilets, spas and hot tubs should also be supervised. Be prepared by familiarizing yourself with the Children’s Urgent Care Centers and Children’s Emergency Departments, in case your child needs urgent care.

  • Pool Safety

      Become a "Water Watcher" - Constant supervision is key. Although many parents are nearby, they must devote 100 percent of their attention to supervising water playtime. Drowning can occur in a matter of seconds, so at least one adult should be a completely focused “Water Watcher.”

      Practice “Touch Supervision” - Children should be kept within reasonable reach at all times.  It is vital to keep children in baby bath seats and rings within arm's reach.

      Don't Be Overconfident - Don’t overestimate your child’s swimming abilities, even if they have completed swimming courses.

      Be Aware of Neighbor's Pools - Know which of your child's friends and neighbors have pools. Make sure your child will be constantly supervised by an adult while visiting.

      Eliminate Drowning Hazards - Remove items that may cause drowning, such as empty buckets, large containers and wading pools. Keep toilet lids shut with toilet locks. Do not leave toys in or near the pool, where they could attract unsupervised children.

      Install Safety Devices Around Pools - Install four-sided fencing at least five feet high that completely surround all pools or water areas, and make sure the fence has self-closing and self-latching gates.  A single drain should be equipped with an anti-entrapment drain cover and a safety vacuum release system. For extra protection, consider a pool alarm and alarms on the doors, windows and gates leading to the pool.

      Be Prepared - Keep rescue equipment, a telephone and emergency numbers by the pool.

      Play Safe - Tell children never to run, push or jump on others around water.

  • Boat Safety

      Actively Supervise - Practice constant supervision of children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention. Appoint a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults.

      Girl swimmingWear Life Jackets on Open Water - All children under 13 years old are required by Georgia law to wear a flotation device on a watercraft. Outfit children in a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket around oceans, rivers, lakes or when participating in water sports. “Water wings” or inflatable tubes do not replace life jackets. 

      Safe Diving - Teach children not to dive into oceans, lakes or rivers because you never know how deep the water is or what might be hidden under the surface of the water.  No one should dive in water less than nine feet deep.

      Swim in Safe Areas - Make sure children swim only in designated safe areas of rivers, lakes and oceans. Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool: they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.

      No Underage Driving - Never allow children age 14 and under to operate a personal watercraft.

      Enroll Your Child in Swimming Lessons – it is an important skill for both children and adults to know.

      Be Prepared - Learn infant and child CPR and keep a phone nearby in case of an emergency. Take a boating education course that will teach safe boating practices.

      Check Equipment - Get a vessel safety check every year for free from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons. For more information go to www.uscgboating.org and click “get a free safety check.”

      Do Not Drink and Drive - Never drink alcoholic beverages while boating.

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