A mum has issued a warning to other parents after witnessing a toddler almost drown in front of her on a Cornish beach.

She highlights how a toddler can drown in just two inches of water, as they simply don’t react in the way we expect.

And she encourages other parents to know what to look out for, so they can keep their children safe.

“They just lie there”

The little boy was splashing about on a Cornish beach when he toddled and fell. He lay flat and fairly motionless in the shallow water, his hands and feet flapping slightly.

Other onlookers didn’t immediately realise he was in trouble. But as the mum who witnessed the incident explains:

“Children this age don’t have the reflex to move their head sideways or push themselves upwards.

“And even though you’re born with the reflex to hold breath, unless they do swim training to harness that potential it goes away."

“Toddler heads are disproportionately large and their neck is short and not very strong. Even if they try, they can’t necessarily lift their neck clear.

“A toddler can drown in two inches of water. It’s not that they’ve knocked themselves out. They just lie there and wait.”

Luckily the little boy’s mum realised he was in trouble and got him out. But it prompted the mum who saw the accident to share the story, in the hope of alerting other parents.

Share because you care

Please share this story and what you’ve learnt with other families.

Our Watch out in water fact sheet offers bite-sized facts and tips on water safety. Please read and share. 

Image of Watch out in water factsheet for Child Safety Week - click to download


More information

Discover lots of great water safety resources from the Royal Life Saving Society for Drowning Prevention Week and learn how to enjoy water safely.

Read more about the dangers of drowning and how to prevent it here.