Swimming safety for kids

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Please be aware of public health guidelines before going to splash pad, pools or public parks and beaches. For your safety, go to RestartMB Pandemic Response System to know the latest public health orders, restriction and guidance.

Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children under the age of 10 in Canada (CMAS Canada.ca). In most cases, this happens because nobody is watching the kids in the water. Backyard pools are the most common places for children under five years old to drown. To prevent this, here are some safety tips:

Establish swimming rules

Give your children some general rules to remember. For example:

  • Keep at least two metres away from other kids/people who are not part of your household.
  • Wear a flotation device especially if you don’t know how to swim.
  • Never swim alone. Always pair up with a buddy.
  • Always check the depth of the water before going in or diving.
  • Don’t go in the deep area of the pool (or lake) especially if they are not good swimmers yet.
  • Children below five should not play in above knee water.
  • Older kids who are intermediate swimmers should not swim in water higher than their chest.

Watch and actively supervise

Always have someone close by to watch. This could be you or another adult who is a good swimmer. If your child is under five years old or is a weak swimmer, stay within an arm’s length. Even older kids need supervision. They can get in trouble especially in open water. Again, kids should always wear a life jacket when swimming.

Teach kids Swim to Survive

Swim to Survive is a three-step technique that teaches kids what do in case they fall into deep water. These skills help prevent drowning and water-related injuries. Learn about this technique from the video below (This video is also available in French, Cantonese, Hindi, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi and Tamil here: Swim to Survive YouTube):

Swim to Survive, Ontario Branch of the Lifesaving Society

Sign up for swimming lessons

Everyone should learn how to swim! There are many programs available in Manitoba for you and your children (check this page for courses). To better protect them, learn basic First Aid and CPR. These skills could save their lives.

Practice pool safety

If you have a pool at home, control access by installing a 1.2 m (4 ft) fence on all four sides. Include a locking, self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent your baby, toddler and even pets, from accidentally falling in. Also make sure that diving boards and slides have a non-slip surface.

If you have small wading pools, drain them after use. Turn them over so that they cannot fill up with rainwater.

Life saving equipment should always be close by, such as a buoyant throwing aid with a rope, reaching pole and a first-aid kit. Make sure that a telephone is always nearby for any emergency.
Article updated June 17, 2021.
Adapted from: New in Canada Parenting Support Child Safety Series, Learn about swimming safety, CMAS Canada/CIC/Lifesaving Society

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Community Resources

The Canadian Red Cross website has a page on summer water safety for activities like swimming and boating. You can also search the site for CPR courses in your area.

Visit the Lifesaving Society Manitoba site to know more about the Water Smart program.

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Swimming safety for kids

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