No responsible parent would ever leave a toddler unattended by a swimming pool. But something as innocuous as a bucket can also cause drowning. "A bucket left by the garage that ends up filled with water from the last rainstorm could spell disaster for a curious toddler," says Dr. Silver. Because a baby's head and upper torso are heavier than his lower body, he can easily lose his balance while leaning to look inside, then find he's unable to right himself, explains Dr. Silver. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, since 1984 an estimated 300 deaths in the United States have been attributed to bucket accidents.
Store pails, empty flowerpots, and large containers upside down, preferably on a high shelf, so they can't fill up with rainwater. And don't overlook the hazards of toilets, fish tanks, buckets used for cleaning indoors, and even large coolers filled with melted ice.
Whenever your child is near water -- a pool, the ocean, the bathtub -- designate an adult whose sole job it is to watch him. Never rely on a bathtub seat or air-filled swimming aids for complete protection. And even if a child has taken swimming lessons, never leave him unsupervised, even for a second. "I've seen kids who knew how to swim but drowned in three feet of water because they got confused and scared," says Dr. Silver.
If you're present at a water-related accident, remember that if CPR is started at poolside, there's a much better chance of recovery. "Brain damage can start to occur after just four to six minutes without oxygen," says Dr. Silver.