Preventing drowning

A child can drown in a matter of seconds, even in a small amount of water like in a bathtub. That is why children should never be left in a bathtub, pool, or natural body of water without adult supervision. This applies to inflatable pools and wading pools as well.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is effective on children 90% of the time, so it’s a good idea for parents to learn CPR in case they ever need to use it.


Children can drown in a bathtub if they slip or lose their balance. Bath seats and infant inner tubes cannot prevent this kind of accident. In fact, they can even increase the risk of drowning by leading parents to believe that they can leave their child alone in the bathtub for a few moments, which is not recommended.

To learn more about bathing your infant and safety during bath time, see Bathing your baby.


Swimming pool drownings and near-drownings occur most often when no one is actually swimming and a child accidentally falls in the water. Oftentimes this type of accident happens when a child living at the home or in the neighbourhood is able to gain access to the pool when no adults are present.

That is why it is important to put a fence or gate around the pool so children can’t get in from the patio, deck, house, or yard.

Children must not be able to open or climb over the fence or gate, which must be at least 1.2 m (about 4 ft.) tall. The gate or fence door must open from the inside (the pool side). The door must have a safety latch and spring hinges that close the door automatically.

To find out how to secure all types of pools (above ground, inground, and inflatable), contact your city or town.

The Lifesaving Society offers free safety advice and courtesy inspections of residential pools. Call 514-252-3100 or visit their website,

Essential information to remember Your child must be supervised at all times around lakes and rivers because he could wander off in the blink of an eye.

Photo: France Laliberté

You can also learn how to respond in case of emergency by taking the Lifesaving Society’s Prevent Drowning at Home course.

Water gardens and features

Since children can drown in as little as 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in.) of water, caution should also be exercised around shallow water, like water gardens and other landscaping water features.

Natural bodies of water

Heightened supervision is a must around lakes and rivers as well. When you go out on the water, always wear a life jacket. Make sure children and the other people with you wear one, too. Fasten life jackets properly. If the boat capsizes, life jackets can save the lives of everyone onboard.