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With warm weather upon us, it’s no surprise that pools are filling up everywhere. However, where there’s water, there’s also the potential for drowning.
More than 500 Canadians die each year from drowning accidents according to the Canadian Red Cross. Non-swimmers aren’t the only ones that find themselves in dangerous waters. Seasoned swimmers are just as susceptible to drowning.
That’s why it’s important to refresh your safety skills before you hit the pool or the beach this summer.
1. Know who can swim and who can’t. It’s fun to go swimming with a group, but you should be aware of how comfortable everyone is in the water. It’s worth having a quick discussion before you get in the water.
2. Swim in areas that have a lifeguard. While you never want to rely solely on a lifeguard for your safety or that of your child, it is smart to stay in designated areas where lifeguards are on duty, especially if you are swimming with children or inexperienced swimmers
3. Make children ask to go in the water first. You don’t want children thinking it’s okay to get in a pool, lake, or ocean without permission or supervision. If a child goes missing around water, check the water immediately.
4. Dress small children in swim diapers and an approved life jacket. Whether they’re going to be in water or simply around it, young children need to be properly outfitted with a personal flotation device.
5. Stay sober around the water. Drinking alcohol and swimming don’t mix. Stay hydrated with water or a sports drink and leave the alcoholic beverages for later.
6. Know how to perform CPR. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but knowing CPR could save someone’s life poolside.
7. Don’t dive into shallow or unfamiliar water. You could seriously injure yourself by diving into waters that are too shallow or filled with rocks or hazards.
8. Watch for dangers when swimming in non-pool environments. Keep an eye out for natural hazards like waves, riptides, plants, or animals that pose a threat.
9. Don’t swallow the water. You would be surprised how many swimmers turn up sick from ingesting pool water.
10. Check the forecast. Be aware of dangerously high temperatures or weather conditions before you swim.
In addition to these safety tips, if your home is equipped with a pool, you’ll want to make sure you surround it with a fence that locks and cover all drains properly. Also, keep a rescue pole and ring buoy nearby where it can be accessed in an emergency.