Watch out in water

This has highlighted the dangers posed when a child is left unsupervised for a short period of time and even in the shallowest of water.

Coroners report, bath seat drowning of 7 month old

Drowning happens silently. A drowning child can't speak or control their arms. They slip quietly under the water. It's only in the movies they splash about and cry for help. It is a scary thought.

But once you understand how and where drowning happens there are things you can do to prevent it.

Babies and small children mostly drown at home in the bath or in the garden, in just a few centimetres of water. Keep them at arm's reach.

Older children can still get into difficulties. They may over-estimate how strong a swimmer they are or under-estimate risks in the sea or open water. Teach them to float until help arrives.


  • bath seats are great for supporting your baby in the bath but they're not safety aids, a baby shouldn't be left alone in one even for a moment as they can slip out
  • get everything you need ready before bath time because you'll need to stay with your baby or young child at all times
  • don't rely on your toddler to keep an eye on the baby while you pop out for a towel, as they're still too young to understand danger

In the garden

  • empty the paddling pool out after you've used it
  • turn the pond into a sandpit or fence it in or cover it while your children are little
  • make sure your child can't get to the neighbour's pond
  • be alert to ponds, pools or hot tubs when visiting other people's homes

Out and about

  • teach older children to choose safe places like public pools and beaches with lifegaurds
  • explain the dangers of swimming in open water, including strong currents, deep, cold water and things under the surface they can't see

At the beach

  • teach children to swim between the two coloured red and yellow flags, these mark the areas patrolled by lifeguards
  • inflatables can be swept out to sea when the wind is blowing, keep children off inflatables when the orange windsock is flying always keep an eye on them