Keep everyone safe around the water this summer
On a hot summer’s day, a sparkling lake or pool is irresistible. But water can also be a dangerous place. In fact, wherever there is water, there is the risk of a water-related accident. Did you know that 12% of drownings occur in the bathtub?
July 17 – 23 is National Drowning Prevention Week. It’s the perfect time to review water safety tips so everyone in your family stays safe.
On the boat or at the lake
Forty-six percent of drownings occur in lakes due to boating and swimming accidents. Before heading out on the boat, make sure:
- There is a suitable PFD (personal floatation device) or lifejacket that fits every adult and child on board - even experienced swimmers. Not wearing a PFD is responsible for 88% of drownings
- You check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Rough water accounts for 15% of drownings
- You minimize or restrict alcohol consumption by passengers, and don’t imbibe yourself if you’re operating the boat
Remember that as the owner of the boat, you are responsible for everyone’s safety. If an accident happens, you could be liable. While boat insurance is not legally in Canada, it can protect you in the event you find yourself involved in a legal suit.
When you’re soaking up the sun at the beach, take a few precautions to prevent accidents.
- Check with for health and safety notices for the lake such as a strong undercurrent or high pollution levels
- Ensure that young and inexperienced swimmers are wearing PFDs
- Ensure swimmers stay within marked boundaries of the safe swimming area
- Still waters run deep. You never know when a swimmer might drop into a deep part of the lake, or when rapid water movement can pull a swimmer under. Keep a sharp eye out for everyone at all times
- Bring a first aid kit. You can’t always see the bottom of a lake. Swimmers can get tangled in weeds and debris, or hurt on broken glass, clam shells, fishing hooks and other sharp objects
The backyard pool or hot tub
Even your backyard escape can pose a risk of drowning for those drawn to the relaxing waters of your pool or hot tub. Here are some tips to keep everyone safe:
- When it’s not in use, keep your hot tub covered and the cover locked
- Build a fence at least 1.2 metres high all the way around the pool
- Install a self-closing and self-latching gate. The latch should be beyond a child’s reach. Keep the gate locked at all times
- Keep garden furniture and other large items away from the pool fence so children aren’t tempted to climb on them to jump the fence to reach the pool
- Keep rescue equipment and a first aid kit nearby
- Keep a safety cover on your pool when it is not in use to discourage unauthorized use
A backyard accident can happen at any time. A lawsuit could end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Basic homeowner’s insurance will not cover you for a mishap at your swimming pool or a hot tub. You require additional insurance because of the danger they pose. If a tragic accident should happen on your property, you are at fault. Make sure you have personal liability insurance to cover you in the event of a lawsuit.
Keep young and experienced swimmers within arm’s reach
Young children and inexperienced swimmers need to be in view and within arm’s reach at all times while they are in the water. The best way to keep them safe is to be in the water with them. Otherwise, you must be ready to jump in at a moment’s notice.
Stay observant even if children are wearing swimming aids such as armbands, floating seats, water wings and neck rings. These devices provide a false sense of security – they are not intended replace lifejackets or your watchful eye.
How to save a drowning person
Drowning can happen in minutes. A drowning person can become submerged in 60 seconds. If there is no lifeguard nearby, someone’s life may be in your hands. Will you know what to do when someone calls for help?
- Recognize the signs. An active drowning person may be bobbing up and down and thrashing his arms
- Call for help from others. Even if you know what to do, having extra help gives everyone the best chance for success. If the person is floating face down, call 911 right away
- Grab a ring buoy or other rescue device, and try to get the person to grab onto it
- If the person is a few feet away off a dock or edge of the pool, lie face down on the edge and extend your arm or hold a paddle out, instructing the victim to grab hold. Don’t stand and reach out because this puts you in a vulnerable position to be pulled into the water
- If necessary, jump in the water with a rescue device, and swim to the victim – but only as a last resort. You need a rescue device that can hold both of you above water because a drowning victim’s first reaction will be to climb on top of you
- Grab the victim from behind under the arms and bring him to safety
- After the rescue, look in the victim’s mouth to make sure there are no airway obstructions and take his pulse. If he is not breathing, and if you are trained in CPR, begin CPR and perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the paramedics arrive
Understanding delayed drowning
Delayed drowning is a little-known threat that causes 1 – 2 percent of drownings in children.
With delayed drowning, sometimes called secondary drowning, water gets into the lungs in small amounts. It isn’t enough to disable breathing, but it sits in the lungs inhibiting the lungs’ ability to oxygenate blood. Over the next several hours, the child finds it increasingly difficult to breathe.
Here's what you need to watch for after a day at the pool or the beach:
- Difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pain, or throwing up
- Extreme fatigue - a sign that the brain isn't getting enough oxygen
- Change in behaviour - child may be cranky or combative
- Lips are blue or skin is pale
If you spot these signs, it is a good idea to bring your child to emergency.
The lure of the water, especially on a hot summer’s day, cannot be denied. But always stay watchful and employ safety precautions to be sure that going into the water is good, safe fun for all.
Talk to an Insurance Expert
Call Us Now 888-594-3105