Household Safety: Preventing Drowning

4 min read

By Dr. Chetan Ginigeri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

It has been generally seen that kids love to be around for their splash time. They try catching the running water, love to play with bath toys; in short, it is one of the ways the child tends to calm down and enjoy. Water is the best way to refresh for all, but one needs to be safe also, most importantly, when it is with babies or kids. It has been noticed that drowning is one of the most common reasons for death among toddlers in recent years. Another important fact is that drowning does not take too much time, it can happen in less than 25 seconds. Hence, it is not advisable to leave the child alone or to make assumptions that the child is safe as there is less water. Remember, drowning of a child can take place promptly, even in less than 1 inch of water. Therefore, little water in bathtubs, and even in buckets and sinks can pose a danger for your little one. And hazards can happen anytime, so we should not take any chances. The kids, in general, are explorative and experimenting by nature, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

bathtub safety

Beware Of The Hazards At Home

The process of drowning can happen too fast and it even lesser than 2.5 cm of water level can potentially pave the way for drowning. In our homes, we have different means to use and store water and child keeps noticing it while moving. The mind of the child is always up to some mischief though it is done purely out of curiosity. So, one needs to keep all the vessels and containers safely closed and out of the reach of the little ones. Let us see what best can be done to avoid potential health hazards arising from these:

A) Bathtubs, Buckets, Toilet Bowls And Baby Bath Seats:

These are some of the places in a home where the child has a good time of his day. A bathtub is one of the areas the child enjoys the most as it is very spacious, and he can even play with his bath toys there. The bathtub can be filled with water, and the baby can have a good time splashing and playing with foam. However, it is crucial to check a few points to avoid any potential threats to the baby, and they are as below:

  • Never leave the child unattended
  • Be careful as the child can slip in the bathtub as the surface is wet.
  • Always be careful about the temperature of the water as too hot water is bad for their sensitive skin, so it is ideal that the adult tests the temperature of the water on their skin before allowing the child to access it.
  • It is imperative that the door of the washroom is installed with a safety latch
  • Keep the lids of the toilets always closed as the child can accidentally get injured.
  • It is better to empty all the containers, buckets and tubs once they have been used
  • Never overfill any water container, bucket, or tubs as the kids can drown if their face gets submerged in water.
  • In case one has a hot tub, the water should be drained after use or kept covered as the temperature of the water is too high and can be harmful to the child.
  • Keep away the electrical appliances at a distance from the water.
  • In case using a pool, it should be fenced in a proper manner.
  • Always install alarms if necessary. They, however, cannot substitute supervision but can alert in case you are away.

B) Be Prepared:

If you have a little one in your home, it is essential to make certain preparation in case of an emergency. Follow these steps:

  • Learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR-A first aid procedure taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing) and Heimlich maneuver (first-aid procedure for dislodging an obstruction from the windpipe)
  • Keep the doctor’s phone number, and parent’s work and mobile number, ambulance number, neighbor’s number, near your home phone. This will help not only you but the caretaker in the absence of you to act promptly in case of an emergency situation.
  • Easily accessible first aid kit

Steps To Take In Case Of Drowning

Steps To Take In Case Of Drowning

Steps To Take In Case Of Drowning

We understand entirely childproofing your home can be a difficult task. If you can’t childproof the entire house, you can at least install doorknob covers to any room that hasn’t been properly childproofed so that a child shouldn’t enter it.
All kids should be supervised from time to time, especially the new-borns, kids of 3-5 years of age, etc. They should, at no cost, be left unattended or with other children alone. Another important aspect of being noted is that the adult should be an arms distance away from the child and not bust on talking on phones, catching with friends, or leaving the child near water to finish the unfinished chores. Still, if the child drowns, given below, are some of the steps that should be taken immediately, and they are:

  • Remove the child from the water instantly and check if she’s able to breathe or administer CPR quickly.
  • Carefully watch the heartbeat and breathing of the child
  • Always inform the emergency.
  • Do not try to make the child vomit by force.

Remember, the first 48 hours after a drowning incident is very crucial. Most of the complications due to water exposure, like pneumonia, infections, etc., appear during this time. Therefore, in case of a drowning incident, even though he or she seems okay after the first aid to you, take your little one to the hospital as soon as possible.
Thus, the ideal situation for saving kids from drowning is by proper training and guidance, making them conversant with the safety measures that should be taken. Tell them about trading and floating in the water, and if possible, one can enroll in swimming classes as well. Always never allow the kids, whether you have a baby, toddler, or school-age child, go alone near any area which has water unless a guardian is there.

Dr. Chetan Ginigeri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

Dr Chetan Ginigeri is an experienced Pediatric Intensivist with national and international training. With 15 years of experience, he is one among very few Intensivists in India trained to take care of children who need/had organ transplants. He has been responsible for coordinating the Pediatric Organ Transplant program.Read more.

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