Drowning is one of the leading causes of injury-related deaths amongst children. Keep your children safe this summer with these five water safety tips.
Read the full transcript »
Martin Wander: Drowning is the second leading cause of injury related death for Canadian children. 58 kids under the age 14 drown every year, another 140 are hospitalized as result of a near drowning incident. These deaths and injuries are predictable and preventable. This is Allyson Hewitt, the Executive Director of Safe Kids Canada. Her organization has compiled and reviewed international research on water safety. The conclusion, children need five layers of protection to keep them safe around the water. Allyson Hewitt: Canadian parents want to do everything they can to keep their children safe. So Safe Kids Canada is recommending to implement these five layers of protection to keep their children safe around pools this summer. The first and most important layer is to actively supervise your children. People think that perhaps when they are decided to pull they would be able to hear their children drowning, but in fact when children drown, it's often silent as their lung fill up very quickly. Active supervision means you are within site and reach of your child. Martin Wander: While adult supervision is a top priority, it can't end there. Parents must be trained and prepared to deal with an emergency. This means adults must learn how to swim and get training and first aid and CPR. To add to these layers of safety, children need to be physically blocked from swimming pools when there is no supervision. Allyson Hewitt: 49% of all drownings or near drownings happen in home swimming pools. What the research shows us is if those pools had four sided fencing all the way around the pool, seven out of ten drowning could be prevented for children under the age of five. Most municipalities require three sided fencing which means that families use the house as the fourth side. Now this strategy is very effective in keeping our neighbor's children safe, but it allows access to the pool for children living in the home or visiting the home. What Safe Kids Canada recommends is that you put a four sided fence all the way around the pool, that fence should be at least four feet high or 1.2 meters with the self-locking, self-closing gate. This is recommended regardless of whether or not you have an inground or an above ground pool and whether or not you actually have children living in the home. Martin Wander: The next layer using life jackets. Never use arm floats, inner tubes or inflatable toys, to prevent your child from drowning. Life jackets and personal flotation devices are designed for safety but a child should not be left alone when wearing them. Put young children and weak swimmers in life jackets when in, on or around the water. Allyson Hewitt: The last layer of protection is swimming lessons. Children are ready for swimming lessons at about the age of five but it's important that you don't rely on swimming lessons alone. No matter how strong a swimmer your child is, you must use all five layers of protection to keep your children safe around water this summer. Martin Wander: Safe kids week runs from May 28th to June 3rd and Safe Kids Canada along with Johnson & Johnson are offering a free Splash into Safety brochure online at SafekidsCanada.ca. In it, you will find all the details about the five layers of protection. Martin Wander was reporting.