Author of water safety for families and New Canadians

Summer and the joy of water activities have arrived! Everyone should be aware of how to stay safe around water:

  • Families with young children (kids under 12 have a higher risk of drowning);
  • Adults (who take unnecessary risks, frequently use alcohol when boating and overestimate their abilities);
  • Older adults (who may be affected by medications and age); and
  • New Canadians (who are statistically four times more likely not to know how to swim).

Drowning Facts:

  • It is silent and fast! But drowning is preventable.
  • Can occur in only few centimetres of water.
  • Children under 5, young men, older adults, new Canadians have the highest risk
  • Some teenagers feel invincible and take risks.
  • Occurs every year in bathtubs for young children and older adults.

Water Safety Tips:

  • Always swim with a buddy, never alone.
  • Take swimming lessons or, minimally, basic lifesaving and water survival courses.
  • Swim only in lifeguarded areas. In backyard pools, designate one adult to always supervise swimmers.
  • Wear lifejackets or personal floating device when boating. Weak or non-swimmers wear lifejackets in or near water, as well.
  • Stay within arms’ reach of children under 5.
  • Alcohol and water do NOT mix. Don’t drink and swim or drive a boat!
  • Know your limits.
  • Check the weather.
  • Check medications for side effects that may affect stamina and abilities.

New Canadians are at a higher risk of drowning. They need to check the weather before they go for boating or fishing. They require water safety tips and reminders as well as swimming instruction in their own languages. They may need further accommodations based on their religion and culture.

By: Leena Thomas,, RPh