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Facts for Life

Injury prevention

Supporting Information


Children can drown in less than two minutes and in a very small amount of water, even in a bathtub. They should never be left alone in or near water.

Why it is important - All key messages - First aid advice - Resources

Drowning may cause brain injury or death. To prevent children from drowning, parents and other caregivers should always closely supervise children who are near or in the water.'

Where there is water, it is important to:

  • cover wells and water tanks so children cannot open them
  • turn tubs and buckets upside down when not in use, and always supervise children taking a bath
  • teach children to stay away from ditches and drains
  • for families who live near bodies of water, install a fence around the house and close the gates to prevent young children from going in the water
  • fence ponds and pools with vertical rails spaced close together to prevent children from getting through them to the water
  • for families who live directly on the water, put vertical bars on terraces, windows and doors to prevent young children from falling in the water
  • teach children how to swim when they are young
  • have young children and children who cannot swim wear an approved flotation device (life jacket) when playing in the water or on a boat
  • always supervise children who are swimming
  • teach children never to swim in fast-flowing streams and never to swim alone
  • in flood-prone areas, carefully watch children when the water begins to rise; make sure that all family members, including children old enough to understand, are well informed of safe places to go to if they need to leave the home quickly.

For first aid advice on drowning, refer to the end of this chapter.

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