May is Childhood Drowning Prevention Month


CHICAGO – Governor Pritzker has proclaimed May Childhood Drowning Prevention Month in Illinois, which serves as a good time to remind parents of the importance of constantly supervising children when they are in or near water to prevent the tragedy of accidental drowning deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 to 4 and the second leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 to 14. For every child who dies from drowning, another eight receive emergency department care for non-fatal drowning.

“A child can drown in seconds, in silence and in as little as one inch of water,” said Illinois DCFS Director Marc D. Smith.

Follow these safety tips to help protect children and prevent water-related tragedy:


Never leave a young child alone in a bathtub or rely on a bathtub seat for safety.
Secure the toilet lid. Curious toddlers could tip headfirst into a toilet, risking drowning.
Don’t allow children to play alone in the bathroom.


Five-gallon buckets commonly used for household home-improvement projects pose a threat to babies and toddlers who may topple into them and be unable to get out.

Empty and store all buckets out of children’s reach when not in use.

Portable or Inflatable pools

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because of the shallowness of baby pools. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water.

Empty the pool right after use and store it upside-down.

Swimming pools and hot tubs

Keep ladders, patio furniture and toys away from above-ground pools. Toddlers are better climbers than you think!

Install a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around all pools and spas. Always check to make sure the gate is locked or closed when leaving the pool or spa!

Keep the pool and deck clear of floats, balls and toys after you leave the pool

Young children should wear personal flotation devices, but they do not replace adult supervision.

Keep hot tubs securely covered when not in use. Children should not be left in a hot tub alone.

Appoint an adult who can swim to always watch children when they are in the pool.

Learn CPR and keep rescue equipment, a phone and emergency numbers by the pool. The American Red Cross offers online CPR training classes anyone can take at their own pace from the convenience of home.
Ponds, fountains and retention ponds

For more information and water safety resources, including posters, brochures and a coloring book for children, visit the DCFS website at