Here are some important summer water safety tips

Durham Region Health Department is encouraging residents to remember important water safety tips when enjoying a swim in pools, lakes and rivers this summer.

According to Parachute Canada, drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in Canada and the second highest cause of preventable death for children 10 and younger. All children are at risk for drowning, but children under five-years old are especially vulnerable as they don’t understand the potential dangers of water, may be unable to swim and have small lungs that can quickly fill with water.

Children Vulnerable

Whenever children are near or in any water, it is important that they have adult supervision; adults should stand within arm’s reach of any child under five-years old, or any older child who does not swim well. Older children should not be relied on to supervise younger children and there should always be an experienced swimmer with your child whenever the child is in or around water.

Young children should also wear properly-fitted life-jackets when in or around water and on boats, as children can fall into the water quickly and silently without warning. It’s important that a life-jacket fits your child’s weight, is safety approved and is buckled properly. Inflatable toys such as water wings and blow-up rings are not safety devices and should not be used in place of a life-jacket.

Adults @ Risk

“While we often focus on children when it comes to water safety as they’re at greatest risk of drowning, it’s important for older children and adults to be aware of the hazards as well,” said Lynn Ryan, a public health nurse with the Health Department. “Adults and older children can also be at risk as they may overestimate their stamina, strength and skill level, underestimate water conditions such as currents and depth, or may engage in risky behaviours such as swimming while intoxicated.”

Residents are encouraged to be aware of and take the following water safety precautions:

  • Be prepared. If you’re swimming at a private backyard pool, ensure that the pool is surrounded by the right fencing requirements and that you have safety gear on hand including a first-aid kit, a phone for emergencies, a reaching pole and a ring buoy attached to a rope. It’s also a good idea to create and enforce family pool rules.
  • Be aware of the environment. Even a good swimmer can get into trouble in unfamiliar water or environments. Be aware of currents and waves, water depth and temperature, as well as weather such as high winds that can cause rough wave conditions or potential lightning hazards.
  • Look out for each other. It’s important to look after your friends and family when swimming and to be familiar with signs of drowning. Signs of drowning can include a person with their head low in the water with their mouth at water level, if they are unable to respond when called, if their arms are extended to the side pressing down for support or if they are in a vertical body position with no supportive kick and silence.
  • Swim safely. Be aware of your swimming abilities as well as where, how and when it’s safe to swim. Know your physical limits and be aware of fatigue, medical conditions and hydration levels before going into the water. Don’t swim while intoxicated, avoid swimming when it’s dark and stay in sight of a lifeguard.
  • Read the signs. Pay attention to beach safety signage such as hazard signs, indicating sudden drop-offs or strong currents. Stay within designated swimming areas and follow all rules posted either for open water or pools.
  • Take lessons. If you feel your swimming could be improved, take swimming lessons. Children also benefit from swimming lessons as it’s a good way to gain confidence around water. While lessons are useful to help improve swimming, lessons alone cannot prevent your child from drowning. Remember to always supervise your child closely even as they become a stronger swimmer.

Share with:

FacebookTwitterStumbleUponPinterestEmail this page

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.