Kids have a lack of fear when it comes to water and water related activities. It’s not enough to tell children to be safe – a Parent needs to explain to them the logic of why we set these rules and what are possible outcomes of not following these rules.
The Facts About Swim Safety
The Lifesaving Society says 97% of parents have a false sense of security when it comes to their teens around water even though many of those kids have not had swim lessons in recent years.
In the last 5 years, drownings are up 7% and interestingly enough, at the age where you would think they would have the best swimming skills,
The risk-taking 18-24-year-olds continue to have the highest water-related death rate of any age group in Canada at 2.2 per 100,000 population.
- The vast majority of drowning victims continue to be men
- Year after year, 8 out of 10 drowning victims are male.
- The skew to male victims is evident across all age groups, but most pronounced among 18-34-year-olds where 9 of every 10 victims are male.
- Higher risk behaviour around water among men than women.
For boaters out there, yes its much cooler to forget about the lifejacket and keep it close by in case the police happen to approach your boat but you never know what can happen and the safety that comes from wearing a life jacket is priceless. Again, as adults we feel invincible but if you get knocked unconscious from a boating accident, your swim skills will be useless.
Great Swimming Tips:
- Buddy up with a partner: It doesn’t matter how old you are, That’s what swimming instructors say. Always swim with a partner, every time – whether you’re swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake. Even experienced swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps, which might make it difficult to get out of the water. When people swim together, they can help each other or go for help in case of an emergency.
- Keep an eye on Friends: If you are a good swimmer and have had lessons, keep an eye on friends who aren’t as comfortable or as skilled as you are. If it seems like they (or you) are getting tired or a little uneasy, suggest that you take a break from swimming for a while.
- Know your limits. Swimming can be a lot of fun – and you might want to stay in the water as long as possible. If you’re not a good swimmer or you’re just learning to swim, don’t go in water that’s so deep you can’t touch the bottom
- Swim in safe areas only. It’s a good idea to swim only in places that are supervised by a lifeguard or parents
- Parents: So important to get CPR certified. Its always a good skill to have and you never know when you might need to use it to save a loved ones life.
- Lifesaving society is putting out a program that launches in some schools in the fall to prepare tweens and teens
- Young boys are very at risk because the part of their brains that is responsible for impulse control is not fully developed until a later age and therefore they tend to be the biggest risk takers and are at the highest danger for drowning.
Talk to your kids
It is incredibly important to explain to your kids why you have set rules for them for the pool. It’s not enough to say don’t jump in if I’m not there because I said so, if they don’t understand the inherent dangers, your rules won’t be enough of a deterrent.
Parents of toddlers: even in the shallowest of waters, it is never okay to take your eyes off a toddler. While on vacation in Mexico, my husband and I were conversing with other adults and no one but the babysitter outside of the pool noticed that my son had slipped in literally three feet of water and was floating facedown. That’s a situation a parent remembers for the rest of their lives.
Water wings are great but the suitswith built in floatation devices are better! Always keep your eyes on your kids!