During the summer months, many of us head to the lakes and beaches with our families and friends. This is an excellent way to have fun, get exercise, play, and stay cool. However, did you know that in Saskatchewan drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children under the age of ten and the leading cause for children under the age of five.
Children can drown quickly and quietly; in less than 5 cm (2 in.) of water and in only 10 seconds. Children often cannot call out or signal that they need help.
There are a lot of things that adults can do to keep children safe so that they can have fun in the water.
All children should wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) when they are at the beach, lake, or pool. Teach your child how to roll on their back when wearing a PFD so that their face will be out of the water if there is an emergency.
Children should be supervised at all times when around water, even if the child knows how to swim. Make sure that children under 5 years of age are always within an arm’s reach. Older children and adults should always use the buddy system and never swim alone.
The summer is a great time to enroll children in swimming lessons or a Swim to Survive program. These can help your child, in case of an emergency, to keep afloat long enough for help to arrive. Check out the Canadian Red Cross (www.redcross.ca) and Lifesaving Society’s (www.lifesavingsociety.com) websites for more information.
Your local pool and Regional Park may have also post more information on their website.
For additional information about drowning and young children, please visit the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute at www.skprevention.ca or call (306) 651-4300.