Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10, and children under five are particularly at risk. In the most recent Canadian stats, 63% of victims under the age of five drowned while alone near water and 92% drowned while supervision was absent or distracted.
Backyard pool safety tips:
Establish pool rules and remember important safety matters:
- Swim with a buddy.
- Ensure children are supervised by an adult at all times.
- No diving in shallow water. Swimmers should always enter the water feet-first.
- Remember: alcohol or drugs and swimming don't mix.
- Water toys and water wings are not a substitute for supervision and are not PFDs.
- All above-ground portable or kiddie pools should be emptied or access restricted (e.g., remove ladder) when not in use.
On Guard card
The Lifesaving Society's On Guard Card reminds parents that someone must be watching children near water with focused attention at all times. The On Guard Card designates the pool safety supervisor - if you wear the card, you're on guard.
Those who wear the card are responsible for committing 100% of their attention to their role as supervisor and for finding another adult to relieve them if they need to turn their attention away for any reason.
The plastic card is worn on a lanyard around the neck and provides very specific tips to help parents and caregivers understand their role and supervise as effectively as possible.
The card includes the pledge: "People on guard pledge to maintain constant and vigilant supervision until relieved of duty."
Learn to Swim
Basic swimming ability is a fundamental requirement in any meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada. The Lifesaving Society offers training programs from learn-to-swim through advanced lifesaving, lifeguarding and leadership.
Our Swim for Life program stresses lots of in-water practice to develop solid swimming strokes and skills. We incorporate valuable Water Smart® education that will last a lifetime.
Swim to Survive is a Lifesaving Society survival training program. Swim to Survive is not a subsititute for swimming lessons; instead, it defines the minimum skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. People of all ages should be able to perform the Society's Swim to Survive standard.