2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 18:44
86% of Canadian parents believe swimming lessons are the best way to protect their child from drowning. Still, it's not enough!
A national survey conducted by Parachute Canada indicates that more than 8 in 10 Canadian parents believe that swimming lessons are the best way to protect their child against drowning. Because swimming lessons provide a false sense of security, Parachute Canada recommends parents use five “layers of protection” to protect their children from drowning this summer, rather than swimming lessons alone.
“It is not enough for you to just teach your children to swim. This is certainly an important step, but parents play a crucial role in preventing drowning. Research indicates that active parental supervision combined with physical barriers such as fencing on four sides of the pool are among the essential measures to keep children safe. »
Drowning is the second leading cause of injury death in children under 14 in Canada. It is estimated that 58 children drown each year, the equivalent of at least two primary school classes. 140 other children arehospitalized following near-drownings. These drowning deaths and injuries are predictable and preventable.
Five layers of protection to prevent drowning
Active SupervisionActive adult supervision should be a priority for parents. Drownings usually occur in swimming pools, often without adult supervision; 42% of children aged 5 to 14 who drowned in the last ten years were not supervised by an adult at the time. According to a survey conducted by Parachute Canada, a third of parents say their child is safe at the water's edge without parental supervision by the age of 12, if they have taken swimming lessons. However, research indicates that older children are still at risk of drowning, as they may overestimate their abilities and physical strength or underestimate the depth of the water.
Also, 34% of Canadian parents believe that if a child was drowning near them, they would hear splashing, crying and screaming. It is totally false. Drowning happens quickly and silently. Often, the child simply sinks. His lungs fill with water, which makes any emission of sound impossible. Parents and anyone with children in their care should be within sight and arm's reach of children when they are in, on, or near water.
Be trainedActive adult supervision is certainly thewater safety priority, but it can’t stop there. Parents must be trained and prepared to deal with an emergency. This means they need to know how to call for help, swim, give first aid and perform CPR. Survey results show that Canadian parents are not trained or prepared to deal with the following situations:
- 41% of Canadian parents surveyed believe they are average swimmers, poor swimmers, or say they can't swim;
- 40% of parents don't know about CPR;
- only 23% are trained in water rescue.
In the minutes it takes for emergency personnel to arrive, these skills are essential to saving a child's life and preventing long-term injury. Adults should be properly trained before supervising children in, on, or near water.
Put in BarriersIn Canada, nearly one in five parents (19%) believe that if their child has taken a swimming pools, it is not necessary to surround residential pools with fences equipped with a gate. Studies have shown that installing a four-sided swimming pool fence that is 4ft (1.2m) high and equipped with a self-closing and self-latching gate can prevent seven out of ten drownings of children under 5 years.
Many swimming pools are equipped with three-sided fences in Canada, whereas a four-sided fence means complete isolation of the pool. Three-sided fences use the house as a fourth side to enclose the pool; therefore, they allow children to easily access the pool from the house. A four-sided fence is a proven protective barrier. Parachute Canada is calling on Canadians to change municipal by-laws to mandate the four-sided erection of a 4ft (1.2m) high fence, equipped with a self-closing and latching gate, around all residential in-ground, above-ground and inflatable pools.
Using life jacketsLife jackets are designed to keep you afloat in water, but they are only effective if you use them. wear. Nearly a tenth of parents believe they can let their children swim alone if they have flotation equipment such as a life jacket, flotation bracelets or an inner tube. Only life jackets and personal flotation devices (PFDs) are designed to ensure safety, but a child should not be left swimming alone while wearing them. Flotation bracelets, inner tubes and other inflatable toys should never be used to prevent a child from drowning.
Stay within sight and arm's reach of your child, and have young children and poor swimmers wear life jackets when in, on, or near water.
Teaching children to swimIt isproven that the ability to swim alone cannot prevent drowning. Swim lessons for parents and toddlers are designed to train adults in water safety; toddlers are still too young to grasp the concepts. Safe Kids Canada recommends waiting until age five to enroll children in swimming lessons. This is an important stage in the development of children. At this age, children have the mental capacity to understand the concepts taught in swimming lessons, have more developed muscles and better coordination.
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