Water safety cannot be written about too much. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in children older than 1 in the United States. From 2000 to 2006 drowning was the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries in children ages 2-19. In the 1-4 year old age group drowning causes nearly as many deaths as motor vehicle crashes. Drowning can be quick and quiet. Children do not necessarily trash around or call for help.

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ website healthychildren.org has some suggestions for water safety.

Tips to prevent drowning

1. Touch supervision (be able to touch) is necessary for toddlers and constant eye contact for older children.

2. Never swim alone and never leave children alone near water. Even for a moment.

3. Designate a “water watcher” when you are in, on or around water. No reading or other distracting activities. Even texting.

4. Installing four-sided pool fencing with self-latching and self-closing gates is important.

5. Installing pool alarms helps.

6. Installing pool and spa drains covers is important.

7. Swim lessons are recommended for children ages 4 and older, perhaps for those 1 and older. Children 1 and older may be at lower risk of drowning if they have some formal training, but such training is not “drown proofing” for a child at any age.

8. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation training is recommended.

9. All children riding in watercraft should use a personal flotation device and a life jacket.

10. Air-filled swim aids are not a personal flotation device.

11. Diving should be permitted only in water of known depth.

12. Children should be taught to swim in open bodies of water only when there are lifeguards.

13. Supervising older children with seizure disorders is especially important.

14. Alcohol and drug use should be prohibited during swimming and boating activities.

Remember to support the community pool. This should be a safe place for the entire family to learn to swim and exercise.

Remember large, inflatable above the ground pools may not be fenced and can be as dangerous as in the ground pool.

Remember the bathroom. Children have drowned in inches of water. Infants and young children should never be left alone in the bathtub even for a moment. Buckets of water should be emptied after use.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.