Tips for Drowning Prevention from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Tips for Drowning Prevention from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Always supervise your children when they are in or near water.

So much of what makes Miami-Dade County and South Florida a paradise involves water, from the bay to the intercoastal to the great open Atlantic Ocean to backyard and community swimming pools. But with all that beauty and fun, comes a great deal of danger, especially for children and youth. 

Luckily a mixture of putting in safety features and changing behaviors can increase water safety and decrease the chances of drowning among children.

Build a fence around your pool:
The best way to prevent drowning is to install a fence around your pool. The fence should surround all four sides of the pool and be tall enough to prevent climbing. The best fence would be away from furniture that could be used to climb over the fence, and be made so that children cannot slip through or climb over it.

Maintain a safe home:
Though children commonly drown in pools, they can also drown in any body of water. Make sure to empty buckets of water, supervise bath time, and never leave a child unattended near a source of water- even if it’s for a second. Keep bathroom doors closed at all times, and install a toilet lid locking device or doorknob cover.

Assign a water watcher:
At any event or gathering where a body of water is involved, assign an adult to act as a “water watcher”. This person should watch the water and any surrounding areas to make sure that every child is safe. The water watcher should be alert and completely focused on watching the pool. Switch off with other adults so that the water watcher gets breaks.

Stay close to your child in the water:
This concept is commonly known as “touch supervision,” and involves staying physically close to your child while they are in the water. It is recommended that an adult is within arm’s length of a child in the water, especially for children five years old or younger or for older children who are not comfortable in the water.

Have your child take swimming lessons:
Putting your child in swimming lessons can give children the skills to float and swim. This adds another layer of protection to prevent drowning. Children can take swimming lessons as early as age 1, but decisions to start swimming lessons depends on your child’s comfort and abilities.

Learn CPR:
All parents and caregivers should be trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) so that they can provide care in an emergency situation while waiting for professionals to arrive. Having the ability to perform CPR is a good skill to have, and will allow you to create a safer environment for the children in your life.

There are many tips and tricks to prevent drowning in children, and it is up to everyone to work together to decrease the risks. To learn about more pediatrician-approved ways to prevent drowning, visit or contact the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Miami, a program supported by The Children’s Trust, at 305-243-9080, or visit