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Let's keep kids safe around water


  • Drowning the second biggest cause of accidental death among young children.
  • Drowning is a silent killer; children do not make any noise when it happens.
  • A child can drown within 30 seconds.
  • A child can drown in just 4 cm of water.


  • Always supervise your children in or near water; give them your undivided attention, even if they know how to swim.
  • Never leave small children unattended in the bath; ignore the phone/doorbell or take the child with you.
  • Always empty baths, buckets, containers and paddling pools immediately after use.
  • Always fit lids firmly on buckets of water.
  • Always keep toilet seats closed and install toilet-seat locks.
  • Always keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.


  • Always make sure there is an adult present when children are swimming.
  • Always ensure that children who can’t swim wear approved floating aids, e.g. water wings.
  • Never just rely on floating aids for drown protection.
  • Make sure your swimming pool is completely secured by fencing, a self-latching gate, safety covers and pool alarms.
  • Check whether your neighbours’ swimming pool is adequately secured.
  • Comply with municipal by-laws.
  • Make sure toys are not lying around the pool where children can trip over them.


  • Always adhere to "no swimming" warmings.
  • Beware of strong currents; a floating toy is easily swept away with a child on it.
  • Children should always wear life jackets when on a boat.


  • How to swim with clothes on, float and tread water.
  • To only swim when an adult is present.
  • Not to play, run or ride a bike around swimming pools.
  • To only swim in designated swimming areas and if a lifeguard is on duty.
  • How to deal with currents, undertow and uneven surfaces in open water.
  • Never to jump in to help when others are in trouble.


If you have to jump in:

  • Take something the child can hold onto, rather than letting them grab onto you.

If you have to jump in:

  • Throw the child an object that floats to help them float.
  • Offer the child a long object they can hold onto and pull them to safety.


  • Learn how to do CPR.


Where Do Children Drown?

In buckets, baths, ponds, lagoons, canals, vleis, swamps, the sea, dams, rivers, in paddling or swimming pools and even in drains.

When does this happen?

Not only when swimming, but often having fallen in fully clothed.

Your can prevent drowning

Always be on the lookout for possible dangers.

Take heed of the simple hints in this leaflet.

Water Safety Hints

Inside your home

NEVER leave small children alone in the bath. Ignore the phone and doorbell or take the child along.

Use a non-slip mat in the bath.

Empty baths, tubs and other containers after use or, when full, keep behind locked doors.

Always fit lids firmly on buckets of water. Too many children have drowned in nappy buckets.


Children should learn how to swim as soon as possible.

It's equally important for them to be trained in survival skills such as floating and treading water. But even then, constant supervision is always necessary.

A child should never swim alone. Children who cannot swim should stay away from places where they can drown. Remember buoyancy aids such as inflatable wings, tubes, etc., are only aids. Don't rely solely on their protection.

Warn against boisterous play in or near water. A dam wall or the area around a swimming pool is no place for riding a bicycle.

Children should practice coping in water with their clothes on.

Children should never dive or jump into water they are unacquainted with, or when people are in the way.

Swimming pools

Swimming pools must be properly fenced off and have a childproof lock on the gate. The gate must never be left open.

To protect a child fully, add a professionally installed pool safety net to cover your pool.

Even then, know where your child is. Is the neighbour's pool adequately fenced? And the gate always closed?

Remember to empty paddling pools when not in use.

The sea and rivers

The sea is unpredictable. Even in shallow water, constant supervision of children is necessary.

Beware! A lilo or floating toy many easily be swept away - with your child on it.

Accidents happen so easily. To allow a child in a boat or canoe without a lifejacket is asking for trouble. The same applies for fishing from the rocks.

Does your child know how to cope when in difficulty?

A few hints:

Rule no. 1: KEEP CALM!

  • Raise one arm and call for help.
  • Tread water or float.
  • Look around for something buoyant to cling to.

A cramp in the leg can be relieved by firmly pressing the area or by straightening the leg enforcing the toes upward toward the knee.

Never try to swim against a current:

In the sea - swim parallel to the beach

In a river - swim diagonally with the flow.

Helping a Child in Trouble

Throw the victim something that floats or offer a long object to hold on to. It is better than jumping in yourself.

At all costs, avoid a double tragedy.

Discourage children from jumping in to help others.

If you must go in, take something for the child to hold on to rather than permitting him to grab you.

Warn children against faking cries for help or pretending to be in trouble.

Everybody in your home should be taught simple rescue methods and first aid, especially resuscitation.