Water attracts babies, and they soon discover how much fun it is to splash in it. Your new baby will be safe if you protect him or her from potential water hazards. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends some water safety tips.
EVEN SHALLOW WATER CAN BE DANGEROUS FOR A BABY.
You may be surprised to find out that babies can drown in just one or two inches of water. It can occur silently within seconds. Babies have little control over their necks or muscles. Any amount of water covering their nose or mouth will prevent them from breathing.
Remember: Don't leave your baby alone in or near water, or even in the care of another young child.
SAFETY BEGINS AT HOME
As soon as you bring your baby home, start thinking about her safety around water. The development of movements and motor skills in infants is amazing and unpredictable. Infants have a hard time predicting exactly when they will start reaching, rolling over, crawling, pulling themselves up and walking. Staying one step ahead is the best way to ensure their safety.
Bath Time Safety Basics
Baby's first bath is often the perfect time for new parents to practice water safety. Keep these tips in mind whenever you are bathing your baby:
- Monitor it with your touch. Keeping your baby's towel and bath supplies close to you will allow you to keep an eye on them.
More than half of all child drownings in bathtubs occur when the child is under 1 year old.
It is common for bathtub drownings to occur when an adult fails to supervise a child. Bring your baby when you forget something or need to answer the door. You should do this even when using a bathtub or bath seat for your infant. In even a few inches of water in the tub, infant bath seats can tip over and children can drown.
- Check the temperature of the water. Check the water temperature with your wrist or elbow before you put your baby in the bath. Hot tap water can cause burns that are serious enough to require hospitalization or surgery. Baby and young children are most likely to suffer burn injuries from hot water scalds.
An AAP recommendation is to keep the faucet's hottest temperature below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scald burns. Many water heaters have a setting that prevents them from going above this temperature.
Bathroom safety is not limited to bath time. Keep your child safe from other bathroom water hazards. In the toilet bowl, for example, babies can topple headfirst, unable to free themselves. To prevent drowning, take the following steps:
- Lower the toilet lid. Make sure all toilet seat lids have safety latches or locks to prevent curious children from lifting them.
- Remove the plug from the bathtub. When the bathtub is not in use, remove the drain plug to avoid the tub from filling if a child turns on the faucet.
- Shut the door of the bathroom when not in use. Keep bathrooms closed with safety latches or doorknob covers for extra safety.
Water containers should be emptied immediately after use
Open-top water containers should never be left unattended. Any time you are not using these containers, make sure they are completely emptied.
- Cleaning buckets and pails
- Where the ice has melted
- Pet bowls with large amounts of water
- Containers that collect rainwater, such as trash cans or recycling bins
Don't forget to secure the swimming pool
The fence should surround all 4 sides of swimming pools, including large, inflatable above-ground pools. A pool fence should:
- It must be at least four feet high, have a maximum opening of four inches between each slat, and have no openings under it.
- Keep the pool completely separate from the house.
- Ideally, the gate should close and latch automatically when opened away from the pool, with the latch at least 54 inches above the ground.
Keep the gate locked at all times and check it frequently. During non-swimming hours, keep toys away from the pool area to prevent children from trying to get through the fence. Ensure that spas and whirlpools are always covered and locked right after use.
THERE ARE OTHER BACKYARD WATER HAZARDS
Ensure that your yard and surrounding area are free of any other water hazards before your baby begins to crawl or walk. You should always watch your child closely whenever they are near water:
- Wells, irrigation ditches, and drainage ponds. While constructing structures like fences, decks, birdhouses and flagpoles, be careful around open postholes.
- Bird baths, fountains and ponds. Even though these can make beautiful landscape features, wait until your baby is older to install or use them.
KEEP IN MIND:
Ensure the safety of your baby around water*while you are at home, at your friends', relatives', and caregivers' homes, as well as when you are away from home. Start talking with your pediatrician about protecting your baby against common water dangers during the first wellness visit.