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  • These Objects in the Home Can Be Drowning Hazards for Young Kids

    Just because you don't have a pool in the house doesn't mean you don't have drowning hazards.
    by Kate Borbon .
These Objects in the Home Can Be Drowning Hazards for Young Kids
PHOTO BY iStock
  • As of this writing, several areas of Metro Manila are still experiencing periods of no water, making it necessary to store it in huge "timbas" (pails) and drums for cleaning and bathing. But don't forget that these deep containers can also be drowning hazards if you have young kids at home. 

    Drowning hazards found inside the home

    You may think your child is safe from drowning because you have no pool. But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discusses that drowning hazards inside your own home can include common household items like buckets, pet bowls, and coolers. As the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission points out, it takes only a few inches of water for a young child to drown. The bathroom can also be dangerous for toddlers when left unattended. 

    Buckets

    Buckets and pails are commonly used to hold water for cleaning jobs at home, such as car washing and laundry, and even for collecting rainwater during typhoons. Since these containers are usually kept at least half-full of water, they can pose a significant hazard for curious young kids.

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    Pet water bowls

    Because bowls used to hold food and water for pets are usually placed on the floor, they are also easily accessible to kids. These containers are also generally quite large and open-top.

    Coolers

    The cooler, typically used to hold ice for keeping beverages cold, will be filled with a considerable amount of melted ice water. Coolers are also frequently placed at ground level, making them easily accessible to curious toddlers.

    Bathroom

    The AAP calls the bathroom a “risky place” for children, writing, “They can topple headfirst into toilet bowls and filled tubs, or scald themselves with water that’s too hot.”

    Pools

    Whether you have a pool in your backyard or an inflatable pool your child uses occasionally, it can pose a drowning risk to your child, especially if it is in easy access to him and if he is left unsupervised.

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    Why these objects and areas are drowning hazards for kids

    Because we are so used to encountering the objects listed above at home, it might be hard for us to consider how they can be dangerous, particularly for kids. However, kids love to explore so the potential hazards presented by these objects cannot be disregarded.

    Kids are naturally curious

    Young children never run out of questions about the things they encounter around them, and they always want to explore their environment. They will constantly try to touch, feel, taste, and smell random objects they see.

    Kids can find water fascinating

    Aside from their natural curiosity, kids may be attracted to water, especially because it shines, ripples, and can make things float. This fascination to water may make kids really excited about going into the water by themselves.

    Kids can drown easily

    It is possible for a child to drown in less than an inch (or 2.5 centimeters) of water, according to KidsHealth.org, so even the smallest water containers can be very risky for them to play with.

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    How to protect children from drowning hazards at home

    The AAP also shares several recommendations for parents to consider to lessen the risk of drowning at home, such as installing necessary safety measures like gates and latches, emptying water containers after use, and keeping children supervised at all times.

    Never leave your child unattended

    Arguably the best way to make sure your child is safe is to keep an eye on them at all times. The AAP recommends always staying within arm’s reach of your child to be able to provide constant “touch supervision” when he is in the water, but this practice can still be helpful at home, especially if there are drowning hazards present.

    Make sure your child doesn’t enter the bathroom unsupervised

    When the bathroom is not in use, it is important to block a child’s access to it, says the AAP. You can install safety latches to keep the bathroom door closed, and even add another layer of protection by installing latches on the toilet seat lids as well. Parents are also recommended to remove the bathtub drain plug to avoid filling the tub with water.

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    Invest in safety measures

    Other safety measures parents can use at home are safety gates and door locks to prevent kids from going outside of the house unsupervised. If you have a pool at home, make sure to install a 4-foot gate around it. The gate should have a self-closing and self-latching gate and no openings or slats that are more than 4 inches wide.

    Empty water containers after use

    After using containers like buckets, pails, inflatable pools, coolers, and pet bowls, make sure to empty them to reduce drowning risks as much as possible. If you can't because of the water shortage, make sure your child will not be left unattended when they are near one.

    In addition to throwing out stagnant water, if you have any toys your child uses when he is in the water, KidsHealth.org also recommends to remove them, so that kids are not tempted to try to recover them later.

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