Water activities can be safe and fun with proper vigilance

June 13, 2014

Safe Swimming, Safe Splashing, Safe Kids is the theme of this year’s Safe Kids Week (June 7 -14). Summer activities in backyard pools or on open water can be both fun and safe with the right amount of vigilance, swimming skills, and emergency preparation.

“At LHSC we average about 6 drowning or near drowning incidents every year,” says Jane Harrington, Injury Prevention Specialist, LHSC. “Of these, half are treated and discharged home, a further 39 per cent are admitted to hospital and 11 per cent died as a result of the submersion.” 

Toddlers (1-4 years old) are the most common pediatric age group involved in drowning or near drowning (46 per cent), and are followed by early adolescents (32 per cent). “This suggests that parents need to keep a watchful eye on their children at all times when they are playing near or in water,” continues Harrington.  

The following tips can help keep the entire family safe, but epically children and toddlers:

  • Keep your family safe by supervising children in and around the pool
  • Keep them within sight and arms’ reach
  • Make sure young children and weak swimmers wear personal flotation devices at all times
  • Take swimming lessons and learn first aid

For adolescents and adults it is important to not overestimate swimming skill and underestimate the risk of water-related injury. The Canadian Red Cross also advises adults to learn water safety—such as how to prepare for an emergency, and what to do if one should occur as key to preventing an emergency in or on the water.

“In most cases, drowning or water related injuries are preventable,” emphasizes Harrington.

Water safety