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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Water Safety

Amanda Poll

Amanda Poll. Health Promotion Facilitator - Summer just wouldn’t be the same without spending time in the water. However, while swimming and water-based activities are great ways to be active, have fun and stay cool, they can also be dangerous. It is important to be aware of the risks so you can take precautions to stay safe and avoid injury, no matter what your age. 

According to Parachute Canada, drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death for Canadian children. Drowning happens quickly and silently; a young child can drown in as little as 2.5 cm (one inch) of water in just seconds. Follow these smart-risk strategies to stay safe in the water:

Look First – Understand and Manage Risks

Children can drown during a brief period of time when an adult is not watching them. You can help prevent this by ensuring a fence is between children and open water that is at least 1.2 metres (four feet) high, with a self-closing, self-latching gate.

Stay within sight and reach of your child. Adults should stand within arm's reach of any child under five years of age or any older child who does not swim well, when they are in water or playing near the water. An older sibling or buddy cannot be relied upon to safely supervise a younger child.

Of all children who drowned in the past 10 years, 42 per cent did not have an adult watching them.

Wear the Gear & Buckle up

Young children and weak swimmers need lifejackets when in, on or around the water and on a boat. Buckle it up every time, and use all of the safety straps on the lifejacket.

Make sure the lifejacket fits your child's weight; children can slip out of a lifejacket that is too big or not buckled up properly. 

Get Trained

Everyone, at any age, can benefit from swimming lessons. It is important to remember that children still require supervision in and around water, even if they have taken lessons. As children gain confidence, they may overestimate their own skills, underestimate the depth of the water or strength of the current, or respond to a dare from a friend.


It is important for everyone to understand currents and water safety in rivers, lakes and oceans. Even a good swimmer can get into trouble, especially in unfamiliar water or environments.

Adults should also be trained in First Aid and CPR - it is always best to be prepared.

Drive Sober

Driving sober does not only include automobiles. It is important to be sober when driving any kind of water machine as well; jet skis, boats etc. Driving impaired puts you and everyone else in the water at risk.

Following these tips and taking smart risks will help keep everyone safe in and around the water this summer.

For more information: www.parachutecanada.org or www.albertahealthservices.ca

Amanda Poll is a Health Promotion Facilitator and can be reached by e-mail at amanda.poll@ahs.ca

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