London, ON – With the arrival of warmer temperatures and summer sun, more people will be spending time poolside or at the beach in the coming days and weeks. Because of the risks associated with water activities, the 19th annual Parachute’s Safe Kids Week will focus on water safety, and the prevention of drowning and water-related injuries. From June 7th to 14th, the theme will be: Safe Swimming, Safe Splashing, Safe Kids. The tragic loss of more than 570 Canadian children by drowning in the past 10 years highlights the critical importance of water safety messages, resources and education.
“With 90% of all shallow water drownings of children occurring when an adult is not supervising, Canadian parents need to be aware of water safety and how they can prevent these tragic incidents,” says Louise Logan, Parachute’s President and CEO. “Education is key. By partnering with community based organizations like the Middlesex-London Health Unit, we’re ensuring the right prevention tools are available to families during Parachute's Safe Kids Week as well as throughout the summer months.”
The best ways to prevent drowning include:
Stay Close, Keep in Sight and Listen.Active supervision is key because people often overestimate their skills and underestimate water depth or strength of current.
Life Jackets are Life Savers.Young children under five years of age and weak swimmers should wear lifejackets when they are in, on or around the water.
Fence it, Prevent It!Researchers estimate that seven out of 10 child drownings can be prevented with four-sided pool fencing.
Swimming Lessons Save Lives.While not a replacement for active adult supervision, swimming lessons teach children to swim and increase their confidence around water.
Be Prepared.Learn water safety, swimming, CPR and first aid; it could save a life.
“We need to take the necessary steps to make sure our kids are safe,” says Meagan Melling, Public Health Nurse with the Health Unit’s Healthy Communities Injury Prevention Team. “Make sure weak swimmers wear personal floatation devices and never let a child out of your sight when they are in or around water. It can only take a few seconds for children’s lives to be put at risk.”
Parachute’s Safe Kids Week is an annual campaign designed to raise awareness about the frequency and severity of preventable childhood injuries, which are the leading cause of death and disability amongst Canadian children. Parachute has numerous online resources for parents, community organizations and others at: www.parachutecanada.org/safekidsweek. A national charity dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives, Parachute officially formed in July 2012, when the former Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada merged.
Visit www.healthunit.com/news/safe-kids-week-2014 for more information about water safety.
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit
519-663-5317 ext. 2469 or 519-617-0570 (cell)
Meagan Melling, Public Health Nurse, Healthy Communities Injury Prevention Team