The big one.
We absolutely encourage lots of other safety precautions, too: wearing your seatbelt, appropriate fit and use of a carseat, wearing your helmet, crossing-the-street safety, and stranger safety. We try our best to review all of the age-appropriate preventable accidents during our visits. But, the big one is water safety.
Not to be doom and gloom, but the fact is that accidental drownings are the #1 cause of death for children ages 1-4 in the US, ahead of motor vehicle accidents. While we aren’t at the beach at the moment, drownings can also occur at home, in the bathtub, toilet, buckets, and outdoor swimming pools. You’ve probably heard it, and it’s true, a child can drown in just 1″ of water, so any water, even in your home, can put kids at risk.
Some water safety tips:
- If you have a swimming pool at home, it should be behind a 4′ fence surrounding all sides a self-closing and self-latching gate.
- If you’re out in the pool, there should be one designated adult that is completely undistracted (NO phone) whose sole responsibility is to watch the kids, and it should be stated out loud who that person is. Many adults will assume that someone else is watching, but everyone should know exactly who.
- NEVER leave a child unattended in water (ie, don’t leave the room, even for a second, because you forgot to grab x,y, or z). A child in or near water should always be within arm’s length of an adult.
- Consider toilet locks or door/knob locks in order to limit kid’s access to water
- Don’t assume that drowning will be obvious (most kids drown silently, not dramatically like in the movies)
- Swimming lessons can decrease the risk of dying from drowning, but is not a substitute for good supervision
- Unless it’s a coast-guard approved life vest, no flotation device will save a child from drowning, so don’t let those devices give you a false sense of security when kids are in the water
- Empty out buckets and kiddie pools immediately after use and store them upside down so they don’t collect water