Every summer, British Columbians head to the pool, lake, rivers, and oceans to enjoy the hot weather. Unfortunately, summertime fun can quickly turn tragic. 400 Canadians die in preventable water-related incidents each year, making it the second leading cause of unintentional death for children and the third leading cause of unintentional death for adults. Even one drowning is too many. National Drowning Prevention Week is July 18-24, 2021, and aims to educate Canadians about safe and responsible behaviour in and around water.
There are always risks around water, but we can take action to prevent injuries and deaths. Consider the following safety tips from the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit when playing in, on, and around water this summer:
- Children need constant supervision when they are in, on, and around any type of body of water including a wading pool, pond, splash pad, lake, or beach – always watch children closely. If you're out of arms reach, you've gone too far!
- Adults should be within arm's reach at all times from infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers.
- Model the behaviour you wish to see in your children — don a life-jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) too!
- It's not a good idea to go swimming or boating alone — if you do, tell someone where you're going and when you'll return.
- Be aware of the effects of cold-water immersion on the body.
- Jumping off that cliff might look safe, but there could be hazards lurking beneath the surface of the water.
- Fast-moving water can overtake even strong swimmers.
- If you're in the ocean, know the signs of a rip current.
- Canadian Red Cross has information on how to navigate currents in open water.
Join the social media conversation and raise awareness around water safety by using the hashtag #NDPW2021.