Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Pediatrics academy: Drowning happens in bathtubs and coolers too

Nicole Villalpando
A kid in a bathtub needs to be supervised 100 percent of the time. [Contributed by Peachy]

When we think about drowning, we think about summer and pools. We don't think bathtubs, coolers, toilets and any source of standing water a young child could fall into and not be able to get out of.

Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new recommendations to address this.

"Drowning is the single leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4,” said Dr. Sarah Denny, lead author of the policy statement “Prevention of Drowning,” in a press release.

Related: Mom shares her experience of a child who almost drowned

The academy also noted that teens are the age group that has the second highest risk for drowning, mainly because they are overconfident in their swimming ability and they mix alcohol with swimming.

The academy recommends:

• Parents and caregivers should never leave a child alone or in the care of another child around a bathtub, pool, spa or other open water.

• Adults should empty all buckets and wading pools immediately.

• Do not leave young children alone in the bathroom.

• Install toilet locks if you have babies and toddlers.

• An adult with swimming skills should be within arm's length of an infant and toddler when they are in or around water.

• At least one supervising adult should be focused only on the older children and better swimmers when they are in and around the water.

• All children should learn to swim, beginning as early as age 1.

• All children and teens should wear life jackets around open bodies of water.

• Teens can learn CPR and water safety skills.

• Homes with pools should have a four-sided fence around the pool that isolates the pool from the home.

Related: Keep kids safe around water

Dr. Lisa Gaw, a pediatrician and director at Texas Children’s Urgent Care Westgate, says people don't often think about the kiddie pool or outdoor cooler or drink bucket that has ice that melts and becomes water. What happens is "a curious toddler looks over and falls in and can't get themselves back out," she says.

Drowning is often silent and very quick, which is why parents and caregivers need to be within arm's length of young children at all times, not just around the swimming pool, but also around coolers and bathtubs. For coolers, if they have a locking device or strap that secures them, use those when you're not getting something out.

Gaw recommends doing things like switching off who is watching the children and not looking at your phone or a book while the kids are around water. Don't rely on the lifeguard to do the water-watching for you.

Around the bathtub, do not do things like going to grab the pajamas when the kids are in the tub or drying off with a filled tub nearby. Drain the tub immediately and the coolers immediately when you are done with them.

She also recommends using U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets and not relying on things like pool noodles or other floating things as your floatation device.

And to make that outdoor pool not tempting, in addition to having a four-sided fence around it, Gaw recommends being vigilant about putting away pool toys.