This is Safe Kids Week and your local Health Unit is asking parents to “have a word with themselves,” before letting their children play in, on or near the water. “Before you think only other swimmers drown, have a word with yourself” is the theme this year, to remind parents and caregivers of the importance of water safety and the steps they can take to prevent children from drowning. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury death for children aged 0-9 years old, in Ontario, and almost half of these drownings occur in backyard swimming pools. Children under five years of age are at greater risk of drowning because they do not understand the danger associated with water and they cannot swim. These youngsters can silently drown in as little as 2.5cm (one inch) of water. Here are some tips to avoid a tragedy around water
– Stay close, keep in sight and listen
– Life jackets are life savers, young children under 5 years of age and weak swimmers should wear lifejackets
– Know how to swim, swimming lessons build confidence in the water and swimming skills
– Be prepared, get trained in swimming skills, CPR and first aid
– Fence it and prevent it. Researchers estimate that 70% child drownings can be prevented with full pool fencing.