Preventing Drowning in Babies

Infants can drown in as little as an inch of water and it can happen in minutes. Therefore, babies should never be left alone in the bathtub—not even with an older child.

When bathing your infant, use bathtub seats with suction cups and safety rings with caution—they can tip over and allow the baby's face to land in the water. Once the baby becomes mobile, any standing water in or around the home—pails, buckets, baby/toddler swimming pools—should be emptied immediately after use. Toilet lids should be closed and locked.

Infants and children should be closely supervised around all bodies of water and should wear a regulation life jacket at all times while boating or near the water's edge. Life preservers should have a head support feature that will keep the baby's head out of the water.

If your infant has a near drowning incident, contact your health care provider immediately—even if the baby seems to be okay. Serious lung complications are common and can lead to secondary drowning. Other complications also can develop after near drowning.

Updated by Remedy Health Media

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 22 Sep 2015