‘Tis the season to spend time in the water. Whether you’ve got a plastic splash pool in the backyard or a season’s pass to a water park, nothing is quite so refreshing on a hot summer day as a dip in some cool H2O.
As fun as it is to spend time by the water, it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. That’s the message that Canada’s Lifesaving Society wants all Canadians to hear during National Drowning Prevention Week, which runs from July 16-23, 2011. According to the Lifesaving Society website, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for Canadians 55 years of age and under.
As we’ve touched on in previous posts this summer, supervision is really the key to keeping kids safe both at the water park and at home in backyard pools. The Lifesaving Society offers 5 more essential tips for keeping the entire family safe around water this season, no matter where you are:
• Ensure that every member of your family can meet the “Swim to Survive” standard. This is different from swimming lessons in that it will give you the skills that you need to get to safety if you accidentally fall into deep water (off a dock, out of a boat, etc.). To practice, roll from land into deep water (e.g. into the deep end of a pool), then tread water for one minute and swim for 50 metres.
• Stay close. If you are more than arm’s reach away from children around water, you’ve gone too far.
• Always wear a life jacket. This is especially important for small children who are playing anywhere near water.
• Protect your neck. Never dive into shallow water. Enter water feet first.
• Swim with a buddy. Don’t go swimming alone—make sure that there is someone with you, and stick to swimming/playing in areas with a lifeguard on duty.
You may have heard these tips and warnings a hundred times before, but it’s important that kids understand water safety as much as parents. Make time to go over water safety tips with your kids so that they can enjoy spending time in the water, while also knowing how to prevent an accident, no matter where you are this summer.