For many Canadian families, summer includes activities such as boating and swimming. But each year, tragic and avoidable water-related fatalities occur across Canada. Here are some interesting facts:
- Young children ages 1 to 4 and men ages 15 to 44 are at the greatest risk of drowning.
- Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional death for Canadian children ages one to four.
- A small child can disappear in seconds and can drown in only a few centimetres of water.
- Small children are also the most vulnerable group for near drownings. For every death, there are an estimated four to five additional near-drowning incidents.
Water safety in addition to skills
Though important, swimming skills alone aren't always enough to save a life. Many drowning incidents involve other factors that swimming skills alone cannot prepare an individual for.
The infant and preschool program, Red Cross Swim Preschool, teaches caregivers strategies on how to effectively supervise children around water and teaches preschoolers not to go near the water without an adult.
- The absence of adult supervision is a factor in most child drownings.
- Whether it's a pool, the bathtub, a water park, or the beach, always watch children actively around water, even if they can swim.
- Consider requiring all non-swimmers to wear a lifejacket to keep them at the surface to assist you while supervising.
- Backyard pools are especially dangerous for small children. Ensure adequate barriers are in place such as four-sided fencing along with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
- Inflatable pools for toddlers should ideally be emptied after each use.
- When bathing infants or toddlers, an adult should remain with the child at all times, children should never be relied upon to supervise other children in the bath.
- When a child is in the bathtub, never leave to answer the phone or for any other momentary distraction.
Enjoy your swimming!