Living in Canada we are blessed to have access to a lot of freshwater rivers and lakes. However, with so much freedom to swim where we please comes a great responsibility.
According to the Lifesaving Society, “Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under ten and children under five are particularly at risk. In the most recent Canadian stats, 63% of victims under the age of five drowned while alone near water and 92% drowned while supervision was absent or distracted”.
How is it possible with all our knowledge about water safety that so many children are still drowning every year?
The stats may surprise you, but sadly they do not surprise me. I see risky behaviour being played out all the time.
Here’s an example from the other day:
As I sat by the pool observing an instructor, a parent was keeping an eye on one of their children in the deep end of the pool, so their attention was not on the younger child. He was busy running around the perimeter of the pool and then playing in the kiddie pool. Since there is less water in the kiddie pool this parent felt a false sense of security. They believed their younger child was safe and not in need of supervision. Not so!
It only takes two inches of water for a person to drown and it can happen in as little as twenty seconds. Combine that with a slip-and-fall or a bump to the head which renders a child unconscious and it could spell disaster.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. Drowning is preventable.
The answer is to make sure someone is watching the children in the water at all times – a designated Water Watcher.
To help your family with the task of keeping a Water Watcher on duty at all times, we have come up with the Water Watcher card. This is a card that can help your family be really clear on who is in charge waterside and their duties.
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The person wearing or carrying the card pledges to give their full attention to supervising the people in their care.
Water Watcher Dos and Don’ts:
•DO have your eyes on the children at all times and maintain eye contact. Drowning is often silent and sometimes the only visual cue of trouble will be the look in their eyes.
•DO stay by the water’s edge.
•DO keep within an arm’s reach of all toddlers and non-swimmers at all times.
•DO ensure that toddlers and non-swimmers are always wearing a PFD in or around the water.
•DO get help if you feel there are too many children for you to supervise properly on your own.
•DO let the children in and around the water know if the Water Watcher has changed so they know whom to call in an emergency.
•DON’T leave children unattended near water for any reason. If you are unable to perform your duties even for a short time pass the card along to another responsible adult.
•DON’T have any in-depth conversations. Save those for when you are off-duty and can give that person your full attention.
•DON’T get distracted. That means no magazines, books, BBQ duty or looking at your phone while you are the Water Watcher.
As parents, we don’t sit around thinking about the worst-case scenario, however, being proactive about your family’s water safety practices gives you the best chance of protecting them.
The Water Watcher card is a great step toward doing just that.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or are trying to find the way to taking your first dip into the wide world of water, then reach out to email@example.com,and jump in with us at The Aqua Life Swim Academy!