National Drowning Prevention Week
As of today, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept us indoors and isolated for a year and four months. To say it has been a long year would be an understatement. We are all looking for ways enjoy the summer, which means more British Columbians heading outdoors to cool off in rivers, lakes, the ocean and pools. Tragically, we saw a notable increase in drownings during the summer months in 2020.
Drowning can happen quickly, and it can even occur days after being in water. There are always risks when we are in, on or around water, but there are actions we can take to prevent injuries and deaths. National Drowning Prevention Week is July 18-24. We encourage you to participate by raising awareness on social media and by setting a positive example for your children and community by following our tips below:
- Children need constant supervision when they are in, on and around any type of body of water including a wading pool, pond, splash pad, lake or beach – always watch children closely. If you’re out of arms reach, you’ve gone too far!
- Adults should be within arm’s reach at all times from infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers.
- Model the behaviour you wish to see in your children — don a life-jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) too!
- It’s not a good idea to go swimming or boating alone — if you do, tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll return.
- Be aware of the effects of cold-water immersion on the body.
- Jumping off that cliff might look safe, but there could be hazards lurking beneath the surface of the water.
- Fast-moving water can overtake even strong swimmers.
- If you’re in the ocean, know the signs of a rip current.
- Canadian Red Cross has information on how to navigate currents in open water.
Backyard Pool Safety
For those choosing to stay home and enjoy the backyard pool, here are a few tips:
- Supervise children at all times; a small child can drown in as little as one inch of water in just a few seconds.
- If a child is unable to swim, make sure they are wearing an approved life-jacket or personal floatation device (PFD), and that you are in the water with them or within arm’s reach.
- Build a four-sided, four-foot- fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate to surround all pools including inflatable pools. Pool fencing can prevent 7 out of 10 drownings among children. Learn more here.
- Keep emergency equipment including a first aid kit and a phone in the immediate pool area.
- Learn CPR and lifesaving techniques.