*Guest entry by Nicole Robicheau, Public Affairs Advisor, Ottawa

There have been a number of drownings over this past long weekend, and we wanted to share some quick tips to help  keep your loved ones safe.

  1. Always wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device if you plan to be in, on or around the water.

The reality is there is just not enough time to put your lifejacket on. Each year, more than 160 Canadians drown while boating and most people who drown never intended to be in the water.  Nearly 90 per cent of boaters who drown are not wearing, or not properly wearing, their lifejacket.

  1. Always watch children actively around water and never leave them alone, even for a second.  

Most often, children drown in a pool when a caregiver is not paying attention. These drownings mainly involve young children who gain access to a pool without a self-closing and self-latching gate. A small child can disappear in seconds and can drown in only a few inches of water – enough to cover the mouth and nose.

  1. Swimming skills alone aren’t always enough to save a life, swimming skills combined with water safety knowledge and skills is what saves lives.

An average of 400 Canadians drown each year, and a Red Cross research report examining 10 years of drowning statistics showed that young children between the ages of 1 to 4 and men between the ages 15 of 44 are at the greatest risk of drowning. The Red Cross Swim program teaches both swimming skills and water safety. The baby and preschool program, Red Cross Swim Preschool, teaches caregivers how to effectively supervise children around water and teaches preschoolers not to go near the water without an adult.

For more info or to find a course near you, visit www.redcross.ca