We love our beaches, lakes, rivers, and streams. Water sports are a huge part of life for many Canadians. However, our love for water can increase the risk of drowning for children and adults. The Canadian Red Cross estimates that 518 people die each year in water-related accidents. Fifty-seven (57) percent of those fatalities occur during the summer months.
As we begin the summer season, it is a good idea to review some life-saving tips that can prevent drowning accidents.
Drowning Prevention for Children
Most children love water. However, children of certain ages are at a higher risk for drowning for several reasons. According to Parachute Canada, children under the age of five years have a high drowning risk because they cannot understand the danger of water, they have smaller lungs that can fill with water quickly, they cannot swim, and they can drown in shallow water (about 2.5 centimetres).
Children between the ages of five years and 14 years are at risk for drowning for different reasons. First, older children tend to overestimate their skills and abilities. They may underestimate the depth of the water or take a risk because of a dare. In addition, physical abilities develop throughout childhood. Even though a child may be a strong swimmer, he or she can still get into trouble very quickly.
For these reasons, parents must take steps to protect their children from drowning. The Canada Safety Council suggests the following safety tips parents should follow to reduce the risk of drowning for children:
- Always supervise children when they are in or around water. You should never leave children unattended when they are swimming or near any bodies of water.
- Children under five, children who cannot swim, or children who are weak swimmers should wear life jackets or other Coast Guard approved flotation devices.
- Take a first aid class, including instruction in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
- Enroll your children in swimming lessons as soon as possible. Learning to swim does not prevent drowning accidents; however, knowing how to swim can reduce the risk of drowning.
- Place a climb-proof fence or another barrier around pools, spas, hot tubs, or other bodies of water. The fence should be at least four feet high and strong enough not to be pushed over easily. Enclosing the entire pool instead of using the house as one of the “sides” provides the best protection.
Other safety precautions include:
- Empty the water out of all buckets, kiddie pools, tubs, and other containers immediately when you are finished using them.
- Use toilet seat locks and close doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms.
- If you are not a strong swimmer, take swimming lessons to improve your skills.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent becoming dehydrated in the sun and heat. Children who are dehydrated can become dizzy and lightheaded.
- Only swim in designated areas with a lifeguard.
- Avoid using alcohol. You need to be alert when supervising children around bodies of water.
- Remove ladders and secure safety covers for pools when not in use.
Put toys and other items away when not in use. Toys can attract children to the pool.
Do You Need an Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you or your child suffer an injury because of a water-related or pool accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if a party was negligent in causing your injury.
Contact the team of lawyers at Diamond and Diamond 24/7 to discuss your legal options. You can reach our office by calling our injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations.