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Keeping Your Toddler Safe Near Water

by T Akery | August 11th, 2011 | Infants/Toddlers

It happens nearly every summer. Reports hit the news media that a toddler has drowned. No state is immune. Drowning occurs in a matter of minutes and without sound. It takes less than five minutes for the toddler to suffer serious damage or death from drowning. Pools are the most obvious culprits but even a little thing such as a bucket of water can pose a hazard for young child.

No amount of protection can trump constant supervision of your toddler when they are around water. Drowning is a silent and swift killer. You won’t ever hear your toddler drown. They won’t yell or scream. Their splashing around can easily overpowered by another noise  such as the television or  music playing.

With toddlers, it is more about preventing access to pools rather than trying to tell them no. Toddlers are constantly testing their boundaries and they will break them if they aren’t being watched very closely. To prevent accidents, all access to the pool areas should be fenced off with self-closing latches on the door. Self-closing latches are important to prevent someone from forgetting to close the gate. But even more crucial than self-closing latches is ensuring that these latches are out of reach.

Place latches higher on pool gates than you would for regular gates. A waist-high latch is easily reachable for a toddler. Toddlers can reach much higher than many adults think. They can stand on their tiptoes which gives them an extra couple of inches.

For  doors opening into the pool area, consider getting motion sensor alarms. That way if the pool door is left open, an alarm will sound if someone crosses the sensor. If your toddler crosses this invisible beam, it will alert you to the fact that they are headed in that direction. This will allow you to catch them before they hit the water. Place these sensors very low to the door frame to make certain they trip. Also, check out their effectiveness after installation. A left-open pool door can be a disaster without these sensors. As an extra security precaution, you can also place these sensors on the outdoor gates. For pool parties, instruct your guests to step over the invisible sensor line.

While it is important to be aware of where your toddler is at all times, especially when around water, a moment’s distraction can spell disaster. The key is to make sure that your toddler can’t access the pool area without you knowing about it.

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