Learn to be water wise

A lifeguard and swim instructor responds to the drowning deaths of a Surrey grandmother and toddler.

Recently, the news of a tragic double drowning that took the lives of a grandmother and toddler in Surrey shook me to the core.

Maybe it hits me harder because I’m a parent… or maybe it’s because I’m a lifeguard and swim instructor, and I know how easy it is to have common sense and be watersmart.

Either way, the senseless loss of life is staggering, especially when the statistics show that the majority of drownings in residential pools are preventable. Here are some of the statistics:

• More than 500 people drown every year in Canada in water-related incidents, with B.C. having the second-highest rate in the country, after Ontario.

• Drowning is the second-leading cause of preventable deaths for children under the age of 10.

• Residential pools are involved in half of all drowning and near-drowning incidents among preschoolers.

• For every preschooler who dies from drowning, there is another six to 10 additional hospitalizations for near drowning.

• Sixty-one per cent of all drownings occur in lakes, streams, ponds, rivers and waterfalls.

• Fifty-eight per cent of drowning deaths occurred while the victims were engaged in aquatic recreational activities.

Keep your family safe this summer:

• Stay within arms reach and in direct supervision of your children at all times.

• Enclose backyard pools on all four sides with a fence and a self-latching/self-closing gate; Drain bathtubs when not in use; empty unattended wading pools and buckets.

• All children and adults should enroll in swimming lessons and/or a swimming survival program.

• Everyone should wear a lifejacket when boating… this includes adults, children and toddlers.

• Play and swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.

• Enter unknown or shallow water feet first – always check water depths before diving.

• This week (July 21-29) is Drowning Prevention Week. For more information on water safety, visit  http://www.lifesaving.bc.ca/


Lisa Ochoa

Lifeguard and swimming instructor

Surrey North Delta Leader

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