Home Water Safety

A toddler sitting in a blue bucket full of water, holding a smaller blue bucket in his hand and looking up at the camera

What areas around the home can present a drowning danger?

The backyard pool and spa are obvious areas in which drownings can and have occurred, however, there are also many other aquatic areas around the home which present a threat to young children such as buckets and other vessels that can contain water. Parents must be mindful of always emptying the bath, the nappy bucket and putting pet water bowls out of reach.

Where have drowning deaths around the home occurred in the past?

Drowning deaths have occurred in the following places: 

  • Buckets
  • Eskies
  • Swimming pools
  • Bathtubs
  • Spas
  • Fish ponds
  • Post holes
  • Washing machines

When do drowning deaths around the home occur?

Studies show the majority of toddler drowning deaths peak between 4:30pm – 5:30pm on weeknights when parents’ attention may be divided with the arrival home of other siblings, preparing of the evening meal, etc. Be aware of the additional distractions around this time, do not let them interfere with your constant visual supervision of your child when around water.

Social situations are another time when parents need be mindful of the increased probability of drowning. Often at parties and gatherings, everyone can assume that someone else is watching the child/children and, as such, no one is supervising. Nominating a designated “child supervisor” during parties is a way of ensuring that the children are supervised at all times. If this person needs to leave for any reason, ensure a new supervisor is appointed or rotate the supervision responsibilities. 

Is it ok for my older children to look after the younger ones?

No, supervision should be constant visual contact with the child at all times by an adult. Children are not equipped with the skills to respond in an emergency situation, nor should they be given this responsibility. Older siblings may not gauge the importance of the responsibility given to them and become absorbed in their own activities. Children do not always call for help when there is a problem and it may be too late by the time you return.


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