Beware of Hidden Drowning Hazards

Beware of Hidden Drowning Hazards
Many people only associate drowning with swimming. That is to say, they think that pools, lakes and oceans are the only places that present a drowning risk.  Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. There are other ways a child can drown, and many of them are in your own home. If you know what kinds of drowning hazards to watch out for, you can help to prevent this misfortune from ever happening.

The problem is, drowning is the leading cause of children between one and four years old. So it’s helpful for parents to understand what to look for to avoid tragedy in their homes. In today's post, we draw attention to some drowning hazards that may be hiding in plain sight.

Less Than Two Inches of Water

Another misconception about drowning is that all children who drown do so in a large body of water.  This truth is, children can actually drown in as little as two inches of water. This means that it is important to be conscious of any pools or puddles of water that your child may gain access to. Remember, kids are curious, adventurous and clever! They often find their way around the house more easily than we may expect.  Be sure that your house is childproofed to avoid their getting into places they should avoid.

Here are several rooms to review for safety:

The Bathroom is Full of Drowning Hazards

Aside from the need to keep medicines and electronic devices such as hairdryers out of reach, there are two main drowning hazards to watch out for in the bathroom.

  • Bathtub – According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 90 children drown inside the home, and two-thirds of these deaths occur in the bathtub. For many parents, the bathtub area is such second nature and may provide a false sense of security. As when your child is swimming, active supervision is critical during bath time.
  • Toilets – Toilets aren’t often thought of when drowning is discussed. However, if a child peers into the bowl, they can tip forward and not have the strength to pull themselves out. Be sure to childproof toilets to prevent your little one from stumbling into danger.

The Kitchen

Ovens and cabinets aren’t the only unsafe areas in the kitchen. Sinks can pose a risk as well. Since sinks are high up and often out of reach, many parents may not think to worry about them. Still, water can remain in pots, and soapy water may be left in the sink after cleaning the dishes. Children can find ways to access these items, and it only takes one time for tragedy to strike. It is important that you don’t leave water lingering in the sink when you aren’t actively using it.

The Laundry Room

Some reported deaths have been associated with automatic washing machines; several due to drowning in the water-filled machine. Checking whether you machine has a safety function a great place to start.  However, there is always the potential for injury regardless of these features. All appliances, including the washer and dryer, should have additional childproofing devices to protect from injury. This should be the case whether you have a front-loading or top-loading washing machine.

Any Room Where There Is A Bucket

Any room can contain drowning hazards when water is present.  A common routine chore like cleaning with a mop bucket can create a drowning risk.  If you are using a mop bucket, always be sure that it remains in sight.  Don’t leave it unattended, even to use the restroom or answer the phone for a few minutes. Drowning is quick and quiet, so be extra careful in your home.