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Water safety tips and drowning prevention

Monday, July 15, 2013, 3:16 PM - The summer months often prompt parents to take extra precautions when taking their child near water. Things such as extra supervision, swimming lessons, and information about pool safety are all given to children to prepare them for safe and fun play.

But what about parents? Do adults take these same precautions to prevent drowning accidents? 

The numbers would say otherwise. According to the Lifesaving Society, the number of people who drown between the ages of 50- 64 has increased over 20 percent in the past five years. And with National Drowning Prevention Week (NDPW) just around the corner, what better time to learn more about drowning prevention. 

National Drowning Prevention Week takes place next week from July 20-27th. This event was started by the Lifesaving Society to increase the awareness across Canada of the need for drowning prevention. This will also be a time to emphasize that adults are just as susceptible as kids to drowning.

The cause for the increasing drowning rate among adults is unclear. What is known is that older individuals often overestimate their own skills of swimming while underestimating the depth and strength of the water. Remember, even as a good swimmer you can find yourself in a risky situation. Children are also constantly reminded of water safety, while adults are rarely refreshed on what actions to take when in a dangerous scenario. 

Do you know what drowning looks like?

Do you know what drowning looks like?

Whatever the reason for the spike in adult drownings, it is important that you safeguard yourself. Here are some things you can do: 

  • Never swim alone. It’s just as important for adults just as it is children to be accompanied when near water. You never know when you may need someone’s help. Having a friend close by is an easy way to prevent drowning. (And who would rather be alone than with friends?)
  • Always have a phone close by. If something does happen, it is good for you to have a phone close to call emergency crews. 
  • Wear a personal floatation device. When participating in activities, such as boating, make sure to always have a lifejacket. Not only must you HAVE one, but it needs to be ON at all times in order to save your life. 
  • Educate yourself. Children are often taught about water safety and what to do in drowning situations. It might be a good idea to learn CPR training, and different swimming techniques that are used to prevent drowning (such as breathing techniques to preserve oxygen). 
  • Know what drowning looks like. People often picture a drowning victim to be thrashing their arms in the water while yelling for help. In reality, drowning victims are typically silent, trying to swim or grab something, and do not have control of the movement of their hands. Ask “is everything okay?” If they do not respond, call for help immediately. 
  • Learn how to swim (If you don’t already know how). One more obvious thing that you can do is to learn how to swim. Even as an adult, it is never too late to learn. Whether it is a fear that you have, or you just never learned, swimming will help make you less apprehensive when around water.

In most cases drowning is preventable. That is why it is important for you to learn about drowning and what you can do to safeguard yourself. And keep in mind that it is not only children who fall victim to drowning accidents. By taking the proper precautions you will be sure to have a safe and fun time near the water this summer.

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