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How can I make sure my toddler is safe around water?

It’s long been said that a child can drown in less than an inch of water. That’s no exaggeration. As much fun as water can be for your child, it’s also dangerous, and there are plenty of things you need to do to ensure that your child is safe around water.

The best advice is to never leave your toddler alone with water – even if it’s just in a bucket or bowl. When your child is in the bath, make sure that you’re present all the time. Place a non slip rubber mat on the bottom of the bath, or use stick on non slip pads. Even a towel placed in the bottom of a bath before bathing your child (when you’re away for instance) can help to make the surface a little less slippery. Don’t let your child drink water from the bath, or submerge his or her head – aside from the danger of drowning, the soap and chemicals can irritate his or her eyes or stomach. When you have to leave the bathroom for any reason, even for a few minutes, take your child with you, wrapped in a towel, and make sure that the toilet lid is closed, and preferably latched, at all times.

When your child is around water outside of the home, at the beach, a river or lake for instance, there’s also a long list of safety tips you should remember. First and foremost, make sure you know child CPR – it can be a lifesaver in an emergency.

Avoid pools that are poorly maintained, as missing pool covers can suck your child limbs or hair in, and the water could be a breeding ground for bacteria. Rather choose chlorinated pools, or natural bodies of water that are safe for swimming, and always choose pools and beaches where there are lifeguards present. Make sure that water isn’t too cold either (in so far as you can). Last, but not least, make sure that your own pool has a cover or a child proof fence, and that any portable or wading pools are emptied and stood upright after use.

There are infant and toddler swimming lessons that you can enrol your child for, but even children who know how to swim can drown, so follow these rules, and never, ever leave your child alone with water.

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