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WaterSmart Education: Drowning is Preventable

The Lifesaving Society's ongoing public education campaign aims to make Canadians "Water Smart." The WaterSmart Campaign encourages Canadians to exercise safe and responsible behaviour in and around water to prevent water-related injuries. We deliver Water Smart public information through the media, community action, special events, safety courses and training opportunities. If you are looking to learn about being safe around the water, boat safety, camp safety, coastal safety, swimming pool safety and ice safety you have come to the right place.

All Canadian Deserve The Chance to Learn Basic Swimming Skills

The majority of people who drown had no intention of going into the water. For swimmers and non-swimmers alike, immersion is sudden, unexpected and often silent. For this reason, the Lifesaving Society believes that in Canada's water rich environment, basic swimming ability is a required life skill for survival. Learning survival swimming skills can help immunize against drowning for life and is a fundamental requirement in any meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada.

All Canadian Deserve The Chance to Learn Basic Swimming Skills
Learn to Swim to Survive

Learn to Swim to Survive

Swim to Survive is not a replacement for swimming lessons. The focus is on the essential skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. Since most drownings occur close to safety and most victims had no intention of going into the water, the standard includes the following three skills performed in sequence:

  • Roll into deep water (to simulate a fall into the water – orientate oneself at the surface after an unexpected entry)
  • Tread water for 1 minute (support oneself at the surface to locate nearest point of safety)
  • Swim 50 metres (swim to closest point of safety)
People of all ages should be able to perform the Society's Swim to Survive standard.

Add Layers of Protection to Your Activities

Drowning is a silent killer and can happen in as little as 10 seconds. Layers of protection will reduce the chance of human error.

If you're not within arms' reach, you've gone too far

If you're not within arms' reach, you've gone too far

Parents and caregivers must be near (within arms' reach) their children whenever they are near water - in the backyard, at the beach, and in the bathroom. Stay tub-side until the water is drained and children are out of the tub. Most bathtub drownings occur because children are left alone "just for a moment."

Restrict and control access to the water

Restrict and control access to the water

Many toddlers who drown do so because they unexpectedly gained access to the water - the backyard pool, the lake or the bathtub. Typically, human error leads to a gate or door being left open or a lock unsecured. If you can't eliminate the water hazard, restrict access to it by fencing off natural or man-made bodies of water on your property and ensure that gates are self-closing and self-latching. Drain bathtubs when not in use, and empty unattended wading pools and buckets of water and turn them over.

Designate a backyard pool lifeguard

Designate a backyard pool lifeguard

An adult must always supervise children using a pool - in-ground, above-ground or wading pool. If one adult must be absent for a moment, designate a replacement or close the pool until someone can assume supervisory duties.

Wear a lifejacket

Wear a life jacket

As an extra layer of protection, put yourself and your family in a lifejacket when they are near water. Lifejackets do not replace attentive supervision of children and safe behaviour around the water, but will keep you at the surface giving vital seconds needed to save your life. If you don’t own a lifejacket, consider visiting pools and waterfronts that offer lifejacket stations and Public Access Liferings.

Go to lifeguard supervised beaches and pools

Go to lifeguard supervised beaches and pools

For safer play near the water, take your family and friends to beaches and pools supervised by certified lifeguards. Lifeguards do not replace direct parental supervision but act as an extra layer of protection.

Learn to swim as a family

Learn to swim as a family

A positive introduction to water can give your child a lifetime of pleasure swimming and can prevent drowning and water-related injury at every stage of life. Toddlers are particularly suited to get used to the water with their parents in an instructional setting. The Family Swim to Survive program is a great way to learn survival swimming together as a family regardless of age or ability.

Support National Drowning Prevention Week

The Lifesaving Society designates the third full week in July as National Drowning Prevention Week (NDPW) to focus community and media attention on the drowning problem and drowning prevention. In Canada, drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional injury deaths among children 1-4 years of age, and the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years.

With some 500 fatalities annually, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death among Canadians under 60 years of age (surpassed only by motor vehicle collisions and poisoning).

NDPW provides a focus around which the public and community educators can promote drowning prevention messages based on drowning statistics and research findings, deliver community education host events such as Swim to Survive Day.

Prepare it! Wear it! Know it! Share it!

The award winning WaterWise Team promotes drowning prevention through public education and water safety activities reaching over 1,000,000 people each summer. Throughout the summer months the WaterWise Team spreads their boat and water safety messages to elementary and middle school students and educates the public on the importance of drowning prevention, attending summer camps, boat launches and marinas, and community events.

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Prepare it! Wear it! Know it! Share it!
Prevent Drowning and Water Related Injury in Your Community

Prevent Drowning and Water Related Injury in Your Community

Our WaterSmart drowning prevention campaigns, drowning research and WaterSmart programs are funded through donations, community fundraising events and sponsorships. There are many ways to support the Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon Branch in its drowning prevention mandate. Please contact us for more information about personal giving, planned giving and sponsorships.

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