Disclosure: I am sharing these important water safety tips as a member of the Red Cross Canada water and pool safety blog team working with Thrifty Mom Media. I have been compensated, but this is an issue that is important to me and my opinion is truthful.
Growing up, I loved the water. Summer was all about running through the sprinklers, playing in the creek and buying a little plastic pool. Though I love it, I wouldn’t say that I am all that comfortable in the water. We never had a boat or a big pool so water for me was always very, very shallow.
Fast forward to four years ago when we bought a place at Gull Lake, AB. We aren’t right on the water but we are in a lake community. We are either a short walk from the lake or on our boat at any time. I would be lying if I said the close proximity to deep water didn’t give me a bit of anxiety about Evan being around water so much.
When looking at Red Cross Canada’s statistics on water safety, I wasn’t out of line to feel a bit of anxiety. Tragically, Canadians drown in pools and natural bodies of water like lakes and oceans every year with 1 in 5 fatalities from falls into water being children under the age of 5. According to drowning statistics (2009-2014), an average of 35 children age 1-14 died by drowning each year while playing in or around water. That isn’t a huge number but anything over zero is a tragedy.
This video really brings the issue home….warning: it is disturbing…for a very good reason.
So what can we do? Wrapping our kids in bubble wrap or avoiding the water are not things we are willing or able to do. So what can we do?
Water Safety Tips to Keep Kids Safe
- Actively supervise kids. I am terrible for this. Reading your book or playing on your phone isn’t actively supervising for young kids.
- Know that drowning isn’t always noisy. Thinking you will hear your child if they are in trouble is not always true. This is why the tip above is so important.
- Consider making young children, weak or non-swimmers wear a life jacket.
- If you must step away from the water, take your kids with you. Even if you think you will only be gone a minute, it is safer to take them with you.
- Ensure backyard pools are fenced with a locking gate. Kids should not be able to access the area without parental supervision.
- Remove toys, etc from pool decks after use. Leaving them out makes them a tripping hazard later in the day.
- Drain kiddie pools when not in use.
- Make wearing a life jacket an every time occurance when near large bodies of water where falling in is a possibility.
- Make water off limits without parents. Evan knows that he can explore our neighborhood but he is not allowed near the water, at the beach or on any dock or boat without us.
- Sign up the kids for swimming lessons. Enrolling children in Red Cross swimming lessons can equip them with the skills they need to stay afloat. And remember it is never too late to learn…adults can sign up too!
- Take First Aid. If the worst happens, be able to help by being properly trained.
- Learn more – Head over to the Red Cross Water Safety page to learn the signs of drowning, get water safety tips, and to find first aid training in your area.
This post was hard for me to write because it highlighted how much more we can do to be safe. I need to sign up for a first aid class and we need to continue to have talks with Evan outlining where he can and can not go. We also need to talk to him about the dangers of the water and how to lessen them. It’s going to be an ongoing discussion for sure and these water safety tips will definitely help.
Also, remember that just because YOU don’t have a pool doesn’t mean that your child won’t go somwhere that there is one. Talk to them about the rules and what they can and can’t do before it is an option. Talk, learn and be safe!