Staying Safe In The Home

Water Safety

Children love exploring so it’s important to keep them safe around water. Most children who drown, will drown at home in the bath, in a garden pond, or paddling pool.

Young babies are unable to lift their heads very well, so can get stuck face down in water and drown very quickly. This can happen even in very shallow water - as little as 5cm.

Even toddlers and older children are at risk of drowning, so should always be supervised while in or near water.

Dive Deeper


  • Be prepared for bath time. Have everything you need ready e.g towels and toys so you don’t have to leave the room.
  • Never leave your child or baby on their own around water, even if there is an older sibling with them.
  • Let the water out of the bath while your child is still using it.
  • Bath seats are not safety aids so stay with your baby or child if they are using one of these. Young children can tip over in a bath seat and become trapped or climb out once they are more mobile.
  • Older children may not want you in the bathroom. Be nearby to check on them as they can still slip and injure themselves in the bath or shower.

In The Garden

  • Always stay with your child if they are using a paddling pool and empty it after use.
  • Cover garden ponds or ensure they are fenced off securely. You could fill in the pond or turn it into a sand pit until your child is older.
  • Think about neighbours and friends garden ponds and paddling pools too.
  • Take a look at this video from ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) about safety around garden ponds.

Swimming & Watersports

  • Swimming is a great life skill. You could teach your child to swim so they are confident in the water, or have a look for lessons locally.
  • When near swimming pools (at home or on holiday) make sure you never leave your child unattended. This is still important if they are using swimming aids, like arm bands, rubber rings or floats. Check if there is a lifeguard and what the safety rules are for each pool.
  • Teach children about water safety so that they choose safe places to swim, such as public pools and beaches patrolled by lifeguards, rather than canals, gravel pits and rivers as these can be dangerous.
  • If you do go to the beach, it may be worth finding out when the tide will change, so you're not caught out.
  • Make sure children wear appropriate well-fitting life jackets if doing watersports.

Why not enrol on a first aid course so you are more confident in dealing with any incidents which might arise near water. It’s a good idea for older children to do a first aid course too.


Verrucas are warts which are found on the soles of feet and can be easily spread at swimming pools.

The virus which causes verrucas thrives in damp conditions and can be transferred from one person to another, so it is not unusual to catch a verruca from walking bare-footed around a pool or in the changing rooms.

Warts and verrucas are very common and most people will have one at some point in their life. 

They will get better on their own but it can take time - up to two years to disappear. There are treatments available, but if the verrucas are not uncomfortable, then you can just wait it out.

Read more about verrucas

Wearing Sun Cream

Water washes sunscreen off so make sure to use a water-resistant one if it's likely your child will sweat or have contact with water.

Sunscreen should be reapplied straight after you have been in water, even if it's "water resistant", and after towel drying, sweating or when it may have rubbed off. It is always better to be safe than get burnt!

Children aged under 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight. Take extra care to protect babies and children, their skin is much more sensitive than adults. 

Read more about staying safe in the sun

Slips & Falls Around Water

It is easy to slip and fall on the wet areas around swimming pools, particularly when running.

Not only can children injure themselves by falling on the hard surface, they can also fall into the pool, which presents a serious drowning risk, especially if they hit their head.

Preventing Slips & Falls Around Water

You can make your pool area safer for everyone by following these tips:

  • Keep walkways and decks clear of tripping hazards, such as lounge chairs, toys, and equipment
  • Use handrails where appropriate
  • Remind children to walk at all times near the pool 
  • Encourage your child to wear sandals or other footwear when walking around the pool

Who Can Help?

You can also contact a member of the 0-19 Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

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