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Babies 0-12 Months | Your Baby's Wellbeing

Drowning: Prevention and CPR

Every responsible parent should be especially vigilant around pools, paddling pools, dams, rivers and by the seaside. Also very important is to know what to do in the terrible event of a drowning. A baby or toddler can drown in just a few centimeters of water. She can easily slip in a bath or paddling pool. Even a bucket of water or the toilet is dangerous!


Prevention is better than cure

  • At home and at other people’s houses, beaches and rivers, always watch your child.
  • Never leave toys in and around the pool, where they will attract the attention of a child or inquisitive baby.
  • Never leave your child unsupervised at the pool or anywhere near water, even if they are wearing armbands.
  • If you have a pond/pool in the area it should ideally be fenced off and a pool net should be fitted.
  • Empty paddling pools out after use (check also after heavy rains).
  • Buckets should have tight fitting lids and water should never be stored in them.
  • Keep the bathroom and toilet door closed.

Saving a drowning child

  • Get to the child as soon as possible; carefully take the child out of the water. If the child is left with a domestic during the day, chances are that she will not know how to swim! Instruct her to use the pool net to pull the child to the shallow end whilst screaming for help.
  • Lay the child down and check for breathing.
  • Do not try to ‘shake’ or force the water out of the child’s lungs, this is a waste of precious time and does no good.
  • Be prepared to begin CPR according to the child’s age and send someone to call an ambulance. If you are alone, never leave the child and run to call for help or phone an ambulance, the child needs air straight away! Seconds count…
  • Open Airway, begin Breathing, check Circulation (ABC) and continue with CPR until the ambulance arrives! NEVER stop – even if the victim seems to be unresponsive.
  • Never try and put the unconscious child in a car and rush to hospital; it is impossible to provide effective CPR in the back seat of a car!
  • When the child starts breathing, turn her onto her side into the recovery position and stay with her until help arrives.

Very important

Even if child appears to have recovered fully, call an ambulance.  Any water that has entered her lungs can cause secondary drowning and could cause irritation and air passages to swell some hours later.  She needs to be checked by a doctor immediately.


One Response to “Drowning: Prevention and CPR”

  1. Rebecca Wear Robinson says:

    Excellent advice for any new parents. Drowning is the second leading cause of death of children in virtually all developed countries and parents need to be vigilant from infancy onwards. Don’t forget to get your kids in the water swimming as soon as you can, just having them comfortable so they don’t panic could buy you the 1-2 minutes when you’ve noticed they’re missing could be the difference between life and death – and being in the water with your baby or toddler is fun!

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