Young children need to be kept safe around water

Going to the lake or to the pool in the summer is a wonderful time. However, if safety isn’t front of mind, that trip can lead to a tragedy.

There have been four fatal drownings of children six years and under in Saskatchewan in the past six weeks. Three six-year-olds drowned in separate incidents in separate areas of the province and most recently, a two-year-old drowned in Moose Jaw in a back yard swimming pool. In addition, another six-year-old was successfully resuscitated last week after being pulled unconscious from a hotel pool in Prince Albert.

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 “These incidents are so sad and so preventable. It breaks my heart,” said Shelby Rushton, CEO of the Lifesaving Society in Saskatchewan. “One of our constant messages is for parents and caregivers to stay within arm’s reach of toddlers and young children. Taking your eyes off a child for a couple of seconds can lead to a tragedy. Once a child falls under the water, they are unable to yell or cry for help.”

To prevent a similar drowning occurrence from happening to your child, please follow these water safety tips when in, on, or around water:

1.     Stay within arm’s reach of child.

2.     Install 4-sided locking fencing around your backyard pools in addition to the fenced in yard.

3.     Don’t let distractions get in the way of direct supervision of your children: stay off your phone, put your book away, and don’t get caught up in a conversation with someone while you’re supervising.

4.     Set up a buddy system with your fellow parents or caregivers for supervising children around water. Take turns being the “lifeguard” in 15 or 20 minute intervals. This will still allow you to enjoy your book, check your phone, or just sit back and relax. But, don’t do it while it’s your turn to supervise.

5.     Be extra vigilant when using inflatable toys such as swans, mattresses, etc. Children can topple off easy and drown. They may also get taken out too far by the wind and waves.