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Water can be lots of fun, and toddlers are fascinated by it. But water can also be incredibly dangerous for young children. Here's what you need to know to avoid a preventable accident:
• Supervision is key, so always swim with your toddler. If you have older kids, sit right alongside the pool while they take a dip -- even if they're amazing swimmers. Don't assume that you will hear your child yell for help or see her flailing in the water from your kitchen window.
• Be sure your pool is fenced in with a gate that closes and locks automatically. Ask that your neighbors fence their pool as well. Consider buying a floating alarm device that sounds when anything falls into the water. Just don't be lulled into a false sense of security by these precautions -- supervision is still essential.
• Keep the back door locked so your child can't wander out near the pool when you're not looking.
• A child can drown in an inch of water, so always empty inflatable wading pools and large buckets when you're done with them, and store them upside down so they don't fill with rainwater. Watch your child just as vigilantly around mini pools and buckets as you would near water that's 10 feet deep.
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.