Kids' Health
Visit website  
Home › Topics › Your Safety > 

Water safety at home

swimming; pool; pools; dams; drowning; fish; pond; water; safe; safety; drown; accident; fountain; creek; bath; spas;


Water safety at home

Every year many young children drown in or around their own homes. Not all of these accidents happen in swimming pools.

  • swimming poolA small child can drown in quite a small amount of water, in a bucket of water for example.
  • Some children live near creeks while others live on farms where there are dams to hold water for the farm animals.
  • Fishponds or fountains that hold water around them can be dangerous.
  • Ordinary baths in the bathroom can be very unsafe for young children if they are left alone.
  • A laundry tub or kitchen sink full of water isn't out of reach for an adventurous toddler.

How you can help make your home water safe

If you are old enough to be able to read this then you are old enough to help make your home a water-safe place for young children.

  • It is the Law that swimming pools in Australia have to have fences around them.
    • You can help make sure that the gate is kept closed at all times so that little people can't get to the pool by themselves.
      swimming pool
  • Spas need to have hard covers over them when they are not being used.
    • You can help make sure that the spa cover is on and locked before any little kids go near it.
  • Fishponds need to have covers over them to stop little kids falling in.
    • If your pond hasn't got a cover then ask the adults if you can help make one. Or maybe even help to fill the pond with dirt or stones until your younger brothers and sisters are big enough to understand the danger and can climb out of the pool by themselves if they slip in.
      playing with water
  • Baths are lots of fun for little kids to play in and get clean at the same time. It is dangerous for a young child to be in a bath alone.
    • You can help by making sure that the bath plug can't be reached and put into the plughole by little kids wanting to have a fun time in the bath. They might be able to turn the tap on, but the bath cannot fill up if they can't put the plug in. You might help by getting into the bath with a little one or sitting with him if mum is busy and she says you are old enough to look after the little one.
  • Paddling pools are great in the summer especially for little kids who can play and splash happily for hours.
    • You can help by watching that the child doesn't slip and also by helping empty the pool when you have all finished playing. Paddling pools should always be emptied after you have finished playing. Turn them upside down as rain water can collect in them. Another way you can help little children stay safe, is don't nag if mum or dad say "Sorry you can't play in the pool because I am not able to stay and watch all of you", …your little sister or brother needs to be kept safe.
  • Small children are attracted to water wherever it is, even inside washing machines!
    • You can help by making sure that the lid is closed on a top-loading machine and that sinks around the house have the plugs out and kept in a place where small fingers cannot reach.

If you have older people, or people who can't walk around too well, living with you, you can help keep them safe too.

  • Maybe you could help stick a rubber mat into the bath and shower for them so that they won't slip getting in or out?
  • Maybe you could help put a plastic chair into the shower so that they can sit there and wash safely?
  • Maybe you can wipe up spills before anyone slips.

Anyone can slip on wet or slippery ground, so it's a good rule for everyone to walk, not run, near water.

Swimming pool rules

Swimming pools are great when it's a hot day and you just can't wait to get home from school and cool off.

Unfortunately pools are also a lot of work.

  • They have to be cleaned.
  • They have to be checked so that the levels of pool chemicals are right, and they have to have filters cleaned.
  • If the water is not clean, it is not safe to swim.
  • If there is too much pool cleaner in the water, it is not safe to swim.

Pools can also be dangerous places.

Maybe you and your family have already set up some rules for using the pool. If you haven't, here are some rules that we collected from kids who have pools in their backyards.

Rules for pools

  •  Don't swim unless the pool water is safe.
  • Don't swim unless mum or dad say it's okay.
  • No running round the pool.
  • Don't swim unless an adult is at home and close by, and who can see you.
  • No jumping into the pool if anyone else is in there.
  • No diving.
  • Don't sit on the filter.
  • Don't forget to:
    sun smart 
  • Only stay in for an hour then come out, put on more sunscreen and rest for 20 minutes.

Do you have other rules for your pool?

What if an accident happens?

As soon as you get old enough, you should learn how to rescue someone from the water, and what to do next. Here are some of the things you will be taught.

  • If someone has breathed in water from a pool, bath or wherever, then the first thing you need to do is get that person away from the water.
    • In a pool you can throw a 'floatie' for her to get hold of, or you can hold one end of a towel or clothing and throw the other end to your friend then pull her in to the side of the pool.
    • If you know how, you can 'life save' your friend to the side of the pool.
    • Or you can roll your friend onto her back and tow her to the side while you are shouting for help.
  • Try to get her out of the water. 

Shout for help. If there is no adult or other person around who knows how to help, ring for emergency help - in Australia telephone 000 .

Dr Kate says

Dr KateMost accidents happen in the home. Many accidents happen because of water. Help to make your home a safer place especially for the very young and the very old. If you have a swimming pool it is a good idea for everyone in the family to learn how to swim and to practise what to do if someone gets into trouble in the pool.

Hot water from taps, kettles, pans and drinks can be very dangerous too, especially for little kids. So keep them safe from burns and scalds.

Ask your parent or carer if the temperature of water from your hot water service can be turned down to prevent scalds - scalds are burns caused by hot water.

For some fun games about water safety see the Royal Lifesaving web site  

Some kids' stories

"My friend's little sister banged her head on the side of the pool, but we got her out before she breathed in the water." Sally

"I heard about someone at school who lost a little brother when he fell into the bath, and there was water in it." Matt

"I read that you can drown in just a couple of centimetres of water. I reckon you would have to be very small or knocked out, or you would be able to lift your head up out of the water," Daniel

"I reckon that little kids should always have an older person watching them all the time. It's too sad when bad things happen to little kids." Samantha

"We have very strict rules about our pool. If we break one, even if we just forgot, Mum makes us get changed and we can't go in the pool again that day." Sue-Ellen

"All our plugs were on chains but dad took them off and we put them in the bathroom cabinet until we need to use them. That way the babies can't reach them." Josh

back to top

We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


Home › Topics › Your Safety >