Active supervision can help prevent summer tragedies

August 04, 2017

The Canadian Red Cross urges parents to be attentive this season

From lakes to rivers, pools to splash pads water is everywhere this summer providing opportunities for families to cool off while enjoying all that summer has to offer. The best way parents can ensure their children stay safe is by practicing active supervision, where you are not only close by young children but watching their actions to make sure they don’t get into a dangerous situation. Contrary to popular belief, drownings of young children can be very silent and happen quickly.

  • An average of 35 children age 1-14 died by drowning each year while playing in or around water. These tragedies could have been prevented through active supervision by a responsible adult
Make sure to take steps to keep children safe near water:
  • Caregivers need to actively supervise children – it’s not enough to be nearby, eyes need to be on kids all the time.Reading a book, texting or surfing the internet by the pool is not active supervision.Consider requiring young children and non or weak swimmers to wear a lifejacket to help them stay at the surface.
  • Caregivers who need to step away from their responsibilities as the supervisor near watershould take children with them
  • Backyard pools should be properly fenced and have self-closing and self-latching gates. Pool decks should be cleared of toys and debris to prevent trips and falls.Kiddie pools should be drained when not being supervised.
“We know from experience that it only takes an instant for a child to slip under the water, and if no one notices this can result in tragedy. It’s important to not only be within reach of your child when they are in the water, but actively supervising them the entire time as well.”
  • Shelley Dalke, Director, Swimming & Water Safety Programs, The Canadian Red Cross
The Canadian Red Cross partnered with advertising agency ICF Olson and SRRNDR Content Inc, a Toronto production company helmed by director Andrew Chui, to create a video highlighting the dangers water can present in just a moment of distraction. Canadians can see the video on television and online at  
  • English Media Line: 1-877-599-9602
  • French Media Line: 1-888-418-9111
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