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Risk Factors for Drowning

Risks differ by age and accessibility to water reserves.

The statistics show that:

Children younger than 1 year are most at risk for drowning in bathtubs, ponds, buckets, or toilets.

Children aged 1 to 4 years are most at risk for drowning in swimming pools.

Older children, teenagers and adults are most at risk in natural water settings such as lakes, rivers, or the ocean.

Unsafe boating: Each year many boating accidents lead to drowning; most people who drown are not wearing life jackets.

Alcohol use: Alcohol use is involved in up to half of teenage and adult deaths associated with water recreation.

Seizure disorders: Children with seizure disorders have a much higher risk of drowning and the bathtub is the site of highest drowning risk.


Supervise: Assign a responsible adult to watch young children at all times while in the bath, as well as all children who are playing or swimming in or around water.

Supervisors should not be distracted by activities such as looking at their phone, having conversations, or texting, etc, and should not drink alcohol.

Supervision for children younger than 5 years should include being within arm’s length reach (“touch supervision”) at all times.

Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In the time it might take for medical help to arrive, your CPR skills could make a difference.

Do not use toys as flotation devices: flotation devices such as water wings, noodles, or other foam or air-filled toys are never reliable.

Remove toys from the pool and surrounding area immediately after use.

Fence: If you have a swimming pool or hot tub at home, install a 4-sided isolation fence with a self-locking gate that completely separates the house and play area of the yard from the pool area. For hot tubs and whirlpools, use a rigid lockable cover or fence on all 4 sides.

Fence your pond.

Swimming lessons: a recent study found that inside the age group of 1- to 4 there’s a significantly reduced rate of drowning incidents.


1. swimming lessons should be part of your lifestyle and should be taken in a continuous and progressive manner.

2. Swimming lessons cannot be the only method of drowning prevention, especially in children younger than 5 years.

SWIMMING LESSONS FOR INFANTS AND TODDLERS are progressively more popular in most developed countries. An estimated 3 to 7 million infants and preschool children participate in formal water instruction programs in Australia. Most programs focus on water adjustment and swimming readiness skills and may also include water safety instruction for parents.

All aquatic programs should include information on the cognitive and motor abilities and limitations of infants and toddlers, the risks, the strategies for prevention of drowning, and the role of adults in supervising children in and around water at all times.


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