One of my children’s favourite things to do on a hot summer day is to go swimming. We frequent the local public pools, rent a lake-side cottage, and have wonderful neighbours who take pity on us running through our sprinkler and invite us for a swim (thank you). Enjoying swimming and water play is a fun way to maintain an active lifestyle, but it doesn’t go without risks.
Unfortunately, drowning is one of the leading causes of injury-related deaths for Canadian children. Drowning can happen quickly and quietly, and Parachute Canada finds that children under 5 are at a special risk because:
- They are attracted to water but do not understand the danger
- They can walk but can’t swim
- Their lungs are smaller than adults’ and fill quickly with water
- They can drown in as little as 2.5 cm of water
Older children are at risk because:
- they may overestimate their own skills
- underestimate the depth of the water
- respond to a dare from a friend.
Juggling my two young boys in a swim setting can be challenging to say the least. My seven-year old wants to jump off the side of the pool with his friends, while the five-year old wants to go down the slide; all while another parent wants to catch up with me about her home renovations!
Safe Kids Canada expresses the need for active adult supervision of young children in backyard pools and open water. They recommend that if your child is under five years of age, or is a weak swimmer, stay within arm’s reach. Watch older children closely too as they can still get into trouble, especially in unfamiliar environments.
Drowning prevention tips to keep in mind:
- Actively supervise your child when he is in or near water.
- Get trained in CPR, first aid, water rescue and swimming skills.
- Install proper pool fencing.
- Wear life jackets on young children under 5 and weak swimmers around water.
- Encourage swimming lessons to help children gain confidence in the water.
The Canadian Red Cross has more information and useful tip sheets on summer water safety and lifejacket wear and boating safety.
Remember, it all begins with you! Protect your family by making a commitment to water safety and and don’t forget to have fun and make some lasting memories.
Share your experience:
For more tips and hints about water safety, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:
- Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
- Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
- Email us at email@example.com
- Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
About this guest blogger:
Brenda Soper Manning is a full-time Public Health Nurse on the Elementary School Team. She works with school communities supporting them as they strive to be healthy and safe. A busy mom of two boys, 5 and 7, Brenda and her partner in crime (aka Paul or dad) enjoy family bike rides, backyard barbeques and a good game of pick up street hockey.
Thank you for posting this. My five year old has had two serious incidents in the water this summer. Luckily the water was shallow & help was an arm’s reach away. It is true that you do not hear someone drowning – it is completely silent.
Thanks for your comment Angela. Glad to hear your son is OK. It can happen so quickly in very shallow water. Stay safe and enjoy the rest of the summer!