How to Protect Your Kids Around Water


Children can drown in a couple of inches of water. 

If you’re staying in an unfamiliar place, it’s important to take stock of potential risks for your kids. 

For instance, foreign countries don’t all have a requirement for fencing around swimming pools. 

Two years ago, the alpine skier Bode Miller’s toddler drowned in a swimming pool at the vacation home where the family was staying.  

The Miller family has made it their mission to educate parents on the lurking dangers in pools or other bodies of water. 

In the United States, drownings are the leading cause of injury or death for children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In California, an average of 51 children die each year, reports the California Department of Developmental Services.

If you’re planning on staying at a place with a pool, there are some tips you can take to assure your family is safe around the water. 

“This is where good old fashioned parenting is useful,” said Dr. Michael Visker, a pediatrician at Alewife Brook Community Pediatrics. “If there’s a pool or another water hazard, keep your eyes on your child at all times.” 

A quick Internet search shows there are products on the market that can be of assistance if you’re on vacation. If the home has a pool, there are door portable alarms for your child’s bedroom. That way, if they wake up before anyone in the house and leaves their room, an alarm will sound. There’s also an alarm with an armband for the child and a component that sits on the surface of the water. If the surface is broken, an alarm will sound. 

Products aren’t for everyone, though. 

One all-round great option is to start kids in swimming lessons. Children as young as three can learn water safety and some swim techniques. 

“I tell parents that the cost of lessons is a real investment in their children,” Dr. Visker said. “Everyone should learn how to swim; it is a life-saving skill to have.”

For more information on water safety for kids, speak with your child’s health care provider.

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.

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