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Water Safety

Water play is an important part of summer for Maritime families. Playing in the water is fun, a great form of exercise, and a great way to cool off. But it also comes with very serious risks.


Children under 5 are at an increased risk because:

  • they are attracted to water but cannot understand the danger.
  • they can walk but they usually can’t swim.
  • they lack balance and coordination and are at increased risk of falling into water.
  • their lungs are smaller than adults and fill quickly with water.
  • they can drown in as little as 2.5 centimetres (one inch) of water.


Water safety rules

Following a few simple water safety rules can help keep you and your kids safe while enjoying time at the pool, beach, or lake.


Supervise closely at all times

  • Near water, active, continuous supervision of children is key.
  • Drowning is usually silent, and it only takes 15-20 seconds for it to happen.
  • Small children should always be in within arm’s reach.
  • If you have to turn away, assign another responsible adult to supervise the children.
  • If you’re in a group, designate a “water watcher” for a certain amount of time (i.e. 15 minutes).
  • Older kids still need close supervision too since they often overestimate their abilities and underestimate things like currents and waves.
  • Discuss water safety rules with older kids, such as no diving if the pool or lake is not deep enough.


Use life jackets

  • Life jackets must be worn by all lesser-skilled or non-swimmers.
  • Be sure the life jacket is designed for your child’s age and weight.
  • Life jackets should fit snugly with all the zippers and buckles done up. 
  • Swimming aids like inflatables and noodles are not substitutes for life jackets.
  • Life jackets are never a substitute for proper supervision.


 For more information on water safety, visit the Canadian Red Cross website.


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