Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Second only to car crashes, drowning kills more Canadian children under the age of 14 than any other cause of injury

Learn as much as you can about drowning prevention!

from Health and Safety Watch - Health Through Knowledge July 18, 2011

As summer heats-up across the Country, health authorities are reminding Canadians of the importance of recreational water safety. Below is information summarized from a number of warnings and advisories.

Drowning is a silent danger and the second leading cause of death for Canadian children. Drowning can happen in an instant but affects a family for a lifetime. A few moments of inattention by a parent or caregiver can result in a child slipping silently under the water without anyone noticing. Learn all you can to prevent drownings and keep everyone safe around pools and natural water bodies.

Drowning facts:

•Second only to car crashes, drowning kills more Canadian children under the age of 14 than any other cause of injury; every year about 58 children die from drowning

•Children 1 to 4 years have the highest risk of drowning because they are attracted to water, but don't understand the risks and don't have any water safety or swimming skills.

•Most drownings of children under age 5 happen when children are playing near water and get into the water without an adult being aware. One-third of these occur in the backyard pool. Older children are most likely to drown when they are swimming in a river, lake, or other open body of water. The most common location for infant drownings is the bathtub

•Every year about 140 children must stay in the hospital because of near-drowning

•Near-drowning can result in life-long problems like difficulty learning, remembering, planning, and paying attention

•Almost half of all child drownings happen in swimming pools

•Young children can drown in as little of 1 inch of water

•About 3/4 of the children who drown each year are boys

How to enjoy the water safely and prevent childhood drowning

•Never leave children alone around water. Children need to be supervised near water at all times. Do not depend on flotation devices as substitutes for adult supervision.

•If your child is younger than 5, stay within arm's reach at all times. Life jackets are recommended for children playing near water who are younger than 5 and children older than 5 who do not swim well. Life jackets do not replace constant adult supervision.

•Never leave an infant or toddler alone in the bathtub, not even for a few seconds. A baby or young child can drown in as little as 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) of water. Do not use bath seats or bath rings.

•Parents should wait until their child is at least 4 years of age before starting swimming lessons. However, water safety and recreation programs for infants and toddlers and their parents are encouraged.

•If you have a backyard swimming pool or hot tub, a four-sided fence should be installed around the pool with self-closing, self-latching gates.

•Pool owners should be familiar with CPR and First Aid practises and have a telephone and rescue equipment near the pool or hot tub.

Check list for pool drowning prevention:

•Are your fences and gates in good repair and do they meet the requirements of your local by-laws?

•Does your gate self-close and self-latch properly?

•Is the release mechanism at the top of the gate?

•Is responsible adult supervision at poolside whenever children are in or near the water?

•Are all family members up-to-date with swimming lessons and first aid instruction?

•Is safety equipment at poolside in good repair?

•Are emergency numbers and a phone at poolside at all times?

In addition to adult supervision…

•Encourage swimming lessons and first aid instruction for family members and caregivers.

•Put young children and weak swimmers in life jackets when in or around water.

•Consider additional layers of protection such as alarms, safety covers, and water rescue equipment (e.g. ring buoy, lifeline).

•Encourage walking around the poolside, as running can often lead to slips and falls.

•Discourage the use of alcohol or drugs by adults who are supervising children by the pool.

Be Safe - Be Informed

•Learn as much as you can about water safety - check with your local public health authorities

•Check with your local municipality to obtain a copy of the by-law(s) that apply to your property