Is your backyard pool safe?
Red Cross encouraging families to keep water safety top-of-mind this summer
June 3-9 is Water Safety Week, and with temperatures warming up and many backyard pools opening, the Canadian Red Cross is reminding families to remain cautious and safe while in and around water.
Every year, approximately 400 Canadians die from drowning. Recent polling by Ipsos Reid, on behalf of the Red Cross, shows that despite significant water safety education and awareness programming, there is still a gap in Canadians’ behaviour around the water.
· 46 per cent of Canadian children know how to swim
· For 51 per cent of Canadians, ‘not allowing children under 10 to access the pool area’ is their only strategy to prevent injuries related to backyard pools
· 11 per cent of Canadian respondents who own a pool indicate they are doing nothing to prevent access to the pool for children under 10
There are a several steps that parents can take to ensure their backyard pools are safe:
· Create an Action Plan including adult supervision, an emergency signal, safety equipment and emergency procedures. Also have readily accessible reaching or throwing assists, a working phone and first aid kit.
· Don’t swim alone: Actively supervise your children in and around water at all times. If you have to leave the pool area for any reason, take your children with you. Children should always swim with a buddy, even if they are strong swimmers.
· Use barriers: In addition to active supervision, ensure adequate barriers are in place for backyard pools such as four-sided fencing along with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Refer to your municipal bylaws for fencing requirements. Portable or inflatable pools should be emptied after each use or covered and locked.
· Keep the deck clear: Make sure there are no toys or debris on the deck to avoid injury.
· Dive with care: About 95 per cent of diving injuries occur in water five feet deep or less. Many, perhaps most, in-ground home pools are unsafe for diving even if they are fitted with a diving board. The best safety practice is to avoid diving in home pools.
· Avoid Alcohol: If you have teens, talk to them about the dangers of alcohol and swimming. Alcohol is involved in about half of swimming drownings.
· Get Trained: Parents and children should learn to swim. It’s never too late. Those with home pools should also enrol in a first aid course, so they know how to respond in case of emergency.
The Canadian Red Cross has been teaching Canadians how to swim and safely enjoy water activities since 1946. Each year, over 1.1 million Canadians take swimming and water safety training with the Red Cross. Visit www.redcross.ca/swim for more safety tips and information.
Stay tuned for water safety workshops to be announced this month by various momstown chapters!