Water Safety :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Water Safety

The questions and answers in this brochure are designed to help you, as a parent, to make healthy and safe choices for your children.

Is it safe to leave my young child alone in the bathtub for a few minutes?

No! Never leave a young child alone in the tub. It takes less than an inch of water and a few minutes for a child to drown. If you must leave, take your child with you.

What is the basic rule of thumb for leaving children alone near water?

A child should never be left alone or out-of-eye-sight in or near a pool, spa, bathtub or any other body of water. Swimming lessons do not make a child “drownproof.”

Is it safe to swim during a storm?

No! It is not safe to swim during storms and/or lightning. Exit the water quickly and safely and seek shelter.

Is it safe to jump into unknown quarries, lakes or ponds?

No. It is not safe to jump into an unknown body of water. You are at risk for drowning when you:

  • Are not sure how deep the water is.
  • Overrate your swimming skills.

Know the depth of the water before you jump or dive in. Oftentimes, rocks, logs or other objects are not seen, and can cause injury.

Is it safe to swim alone?

No! Use the buddy system when you are swimming or diving. If there is an emergency, someone is there to get help.

What can I do to stop children from coming into the backyard pool when an adult is not present?

  • Make sure your pool is enclosed on all four sides.
  • Use fencing that a child cannot easily climb over.
  • Latches and pool gates should be placed out of reach of young children.

What safety aids should be kept by the pool for emergencies?

  • A telephone with emergency numbers.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Reaching and throwing aids, known as life preservers, should be kept on either side of the pool.

What other safety measures should my family take to avoid a drowning in our pool or other bodies of water?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a technique to learn, especially if you have a pool in your backyard. For more information about CPR training, call Nationwide Children’s Hospital at
(614) 355-0662.

What should my family know about safe boating?

  • Be familiar with the boat.
  • Never go out on a boat unless there is someone on board who knows how to handle it.
  • Always wear a properly fitted life jacket with a flare, mirror and whistle attached.
  • When water-skiing, always have at least two people in the boat: one to drive and the other(s) to watch the skier.

All boat owners and their families should take a boat handling and safety course. For more information, contact the Boating Safety and Consumer Information line at (800) 368-5647.

Water Safety Brochure (PDF)

Center for Injury Research and Policy Drowning Prevention

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000