Red Cross Urges Parents to be Mindful of Water Safety

By Omid Ghoreishi, Epoch Times
June 10, 2013 6:50 pm Last Updated: June 10, 2013 6:50 pm

With the summer season upon us, the Red Cross is warning parents to safeguard their kids against drowning.

Although on the decline, child drowning remains the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10, the organization says.

However, Canadian parents seem to underestimate this risk, according to a poll by Ipsos Reid conducted on behalf of the Red Cross.

The poll shows that 98 percent of parents with children younger than 4 say they decide what level of supervision to use based on water depth. 

The Red Cross, however, says that is not the proper way to evaluate the risk, as 40 percent of children drown in water depths of less than one metre, and 90 percent of children who drown in shallow water are not accompanied by a supervising adult.

“Only one-third of children and youth who drown in Canada were taking part in aquatic activities that parents typically see as risky, like swimming or wading,” Rick Caissie, national director for first aid, swimming and water safety with the Red Cross, said in a press release.

“One-third of children drown in situations where they enter the water unexpectedly, like by falling from a dock or entering the water without their caregiver’s knowledge.”

Some parents also underestimate the importance of backyard pool safety measures. Fifteen percent of child drownings happen in backyard pools.

The poll shows that only half of Canadian parents deem four-sided fencing around backyard pools an important measure against drowning. This is while in almost two-thirds of child drowning in backyard pools, there is no fence, or the fence is not built according to safety bylaws. 

“Sixty percent of child drowning occur between June and August,” says Caissie. 

“With summer around the corner, we urge parents to understand the risks to children not just when they are in the water, but also when they are on it or near it.”