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Be water smart: drowning is preventable

Over 70 British Columbians die in preventable water-related incidents each year. July 17-23 is National Drowning Prevention Week, which aims to bring awareness and education to prevent drowning.
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Drowning can happen quickly and quietly. Over 70 British Columbians die in preventable water-related incidents each year. In B.C., the greatest number of drowning deaths occur among males. Of the near-drowning survivors, 20 per cent sustain permanent brain damage.

“You have to respect the water, because ultimately it’s a hazard,” said Susie Skoda, a lifeguard and coach based in Vancouver. “So many drowning incidents are preventable. People take risks because they don’t recognize that the water is a hazard.” 

A lifelong swimmer, Susie swam at the national level, and continues to compete in Masters and open water swim competitions. Her advice is to familiarize children with water and rules by taking them to the pool. 

“Pools are a supervised environment, and lifeguards are constantly educating people about pool rules; so kids that grow up going to the pool learn how to behave around the water, they learn that respect.”

 Learn more about children and water safety in this article from BC Children’s Hospital.

July 17-23 is National Drowning Prevention Week, designated by the Lifesaving Society of BC and Yukon to bring awareness and education to prevent drowning. 

There are many ways to be water smart to keep you and your loved ones safe:

  • Learn to swim: Enrol yourself and your child in swimming lessons. 
  • Build a fence: Have a self-closing, self-latching gate to surround all pools, including inflatable pools. 
  • Supervise children: Make sure children are well supervised by responsible adults at all times in and around water. 
  • Boating safety: Always wear a lifejacket when in a boat. 
  • Learn CPR: Know lifesaving techniques.
  • Stay sober in, on and around the water: Refrain from using alcohol before or during swimming or boating activities.
Learning activities

The Lifesaving Society has prepared some Water Smart Learning Activities to help you be water smart:

Learn more about how to prevent drowning at Lifesaving Society BC and Canadian Red Cross. 

Learn more injury prevention tips at the Trauma Services BC webpage.

BC Children's Hospital; BC Children's Hospital Research Institute; children; Kids; Trauma Services BC
 
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