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Water Safety for Toddlers


toddler walking on beach, mom holding her hand



Playing in and around water is fun and soothing for toddlers.  

But they need very close supervision to keep them safe.

Drowning is a leading cause of death among children between the ages of 12 months and 48 months. It only takes seconds for a toddler to drown. Whether in the bath, at the beach, on a boat, or at a water table, stay close enough to watch - and reach - your child at all times. Always hold onto your toddler’s hand when on a dock or near a pool -your toddler might suddenly run toward the water. Even if your child is wearing a lifejacket you still need to watch her carefully.

When buying a child sized lifejacket, check the labels for the right size and weight. Never leave water in a bucket or other container near your toddler - this includes rain barrels or cisterns.

Post emergency numbers in several places throughout your house. Or store them in your cell phone. Include numbers for your doctor, friends, and neighbours. Keep your local Poison Control Centre number handy, too. 

Lifejackets or PFDs?

Lifejackets are made to turn a person face up with their mouth out of the water. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) do not always have that ability. They also do not float as well as a lifejacket, and can give a false sense of security.

Read more on Swimming Pools and Ponds

Resources & Links: 
HealthLink BC: Your Toddler: Safe Ways to Explore
HealthLink BC: Child Safety: Preventing Drowning
HealthLink BC: Safety Tips for Swimmers

Last Updated: July 18, 2019