A child can disappear from sight within minutes and it takes less than three centimetres of water for a baby to drown. The Canadian Red Cross reminds parents and caregivers to be vigilant about watching children around water.
"Whether it's a pool, the bathtub, or the beach, always watch children actively around water - even if they can swim," said Shelley Dalke, manager of national swimming and water safety programs for the Canadian Red Cross. "Parents and caregivers need to be vigilant at all times when children have access to any body of water, no matter how big or small."
Each year, an average of 525 Canadians drown, and more than half of those occur during the summer months. Recent polling shows that despite significant water safety education and awareness programming, there is still a gap in Canadians' behaviour around the water: Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional death for Canadian children between the ages of one to four.
"Swimming skills alone aren't always enough to save a life," said Dalke. "Learning to swim is important, but learning water safety is key to preventing an emergency in or on the water. Swimming skills combined with safety knowledge and skills saves lives."
The Red Cross Swim program teaches both swimming and water safety skills, and offers levels for preschool children to youth. The infant program - Red Cross Swim Preschool - focuses on providing caregivers with safety skills, knowledge and strategies on how to effectively supervise children around water.
The Canadian Red Cross has been helping to keep Canadians safe in, on and around water since 1946. For more information about Canadian Red Cross swimming and water safety programs, or for safety tips, visit www.redcross.ca/swim.