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Water Safety for Families

on Jun 16, 11 • by • with Comments Off

Summer fun in a coastal city like Vancouver often means trips to the beach, boating excursions, swimming in the sea and paddling in local lakes. Many kids love water, and it’s easy to let your guard down while relaxing at a summer picnic. However, many drownings happen not because Mom and Dad aren’t watching, but...
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Summer fun in a coastal city like Vancouver often means trips to the beach, boating excursions, swimming in the sea and paddling in local lakes. Many kids love water, and it’s easy to let your guard down while relaxing at a summer picnic. However, many drownings happen not because Mom and Dad aren’t watching, but because they don’t know what to watch for. A real-life drowning incident doesn’t look like it does on TV, and the life-saving information in this gcaptain article is a great reminder for everyone spending time in the water this summer.  Here’s a quick summary.

Identifying a swimmer in trouble

A drowning shown on TV or in the movies usually involves lots of noise, splashing and shouting, all of which make for exciting drama but are completely misleading when it comes to identifying a real-life drowning. A swimmer in distress will usually be:

  • Silent. In the same way that a choking victim is unable to shout for help, a drowning victim is unable to shout either. A victim’s mouth will often be bobbing up and down and going in and out of the water. Any time a victim’s mouth is clear of water she will be compelled to breathe, not call for help.
  • Low in the water. Someone who is drowning will usually be vertical in the water, with her face up towards the sky, only part of the head showing, and arms attempting to push herself upwards. It’s very unlikely she will be able to wave for help she’s really drowning.

For more information on how to identify and rescue a drowning swimmer, see the full article at gcaptain.

Keeping kids safe in the water

According to the Canadian Red Cross, all children under six should be within arm’s reach of a parent or responsible adult at all times while in the water. This can be a real challenge with very active kids, but if your child goes under the water, you don’t have very long to notice and get to him before he might inhale a lot of water. If in doubt, put an approved PDF on him. It’s not a substitute for supervision, but it can be a lifesaver if you have more than one child under six.

All people, including children and adults, should wear a PDF while boating, canoeing and kayaking. And never mix booze and boating, especially not when there are children on board. Accidents are far more likely to happen when judgment is impaired.

It’s never fun to think about worst-case scenarios, but preventing tragic accidents means thinking ahead and being prepared for anything. Knowing how to identify and rescue a swimmer who is in distress or drowning is important, but so is preventing such situations from happening in the first place by supervising children, teaching them how to swim and knowing how to behave safely around the water.

Michelle Carchrae is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom to two girls. With a serious love for Vancouver and an equally serious need to get out of the house with two young kids, Michelle searches out the best kid and parent friendly places to go. Michelle also writes about parenting at her blog, The Parent Vortex.

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