CALGARY – STARS and the Lifesaving Society teamed up Tuesday to share a message about staying safe in or on the water. As part of an awareness campaign for National Drowning Prevention Week, they demonstrated how they respond to a drowning call involving a child.
Approximately 500 Canadians drown every year, 28 in Alberta.
The Lifesaving Society says prevention is key.
“Water-related fatalities are preventable” said Lifesaving Society Chief Administrative Officer Barbara Costache. “Drowning is often only talked about when a fatality occurs; we need to talk about drowning prevention every day.”
The Society says backyard pools pose the greatest danger to young children, accounting for one-third of water-related deaths for children under five years old. Bathtubs account for almost a quarter of child drownings.
The Society has the following tips to keep children safe:
- Never leave children alone near water. And stay close – always within arms’ reach.
- Designate an adult to supervise children in or around water.
- Have 100% attention when supervising, by putting away distractions like cellphones.
- Watch the face – especially the eyes. Many victims don’t call, wave, or signal for help because they can’t keep their head or arms above water.
- Young children and non-swimmers should wear a lifejacket.
- Check for hazards in and around water, and know your limits.
- Never swim alone or while intoxicated.
The Lifesaving Society recommends every child learn swimming skills, starting at a young age.
The organization focuses on public education, research and safety management services. More than a million Canadians participate annually in the Society’s training courses.
National Drowning Prevention Week runs from July 19 to 25.