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.