Swimming safety for kids

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Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children under the age of 10 in Canada (CMAS Canada.ca’s New in Canada Child Safety Series brochure). This happens because children are not being watched. Backyard pools are the most common places for children under five years old to drown.

Here are some safety tips:

Set swimming rules

Before going to the pool or a lake, give your children safety rules. Tell them not to swim alone and always go with a friend. Tell them to not go in the deep area of the pool (or lake) especially if they are not good swimmers yet. Tell them to check how deep the water is before going in. If your child is below five, the water should not be higher than their knees. For older children that are intermediate swimmers, the water level should not be higher than their chest.

Watch and supervise

An adult should always watch the children. Stay within an arm’s length of your child if your child is under five or is a weak swimmer. Always wear lifejackets before getting in the water.

Teach kids Swim to Survive

Swim to Survive is a three-step technique for kids. It teaches them what do in case they fall into water. Watch the following video from the Ontario Branch of the Lifesaving Society about this technique:

Sign up for swimming lessons

You and your children should learn to swim. You can also learn basic First Aid and CPR.

Practice pool safety

If you have a pool, install a 1.2 m (4 ft) fence on all four sides. Also install a gate that locks, closes and latches itself. This will prevent your baby, toddler or pets from falling in and drowning. Diving boards or slides should have a non-slip surface. Turn over wading pools so that they cannot fill up with rainwater.

Lifesaving equipment and a telephone should always be close by for emergencies.

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 information on summer water safety and CPR courses.

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

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