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Play safe this summer: drowning prevention

Play safe this summer: drowning prevention
Lifebuoy and lifeguard in action under water

Summer is in full swing and many people in B.C. are enjoying lakes, rivers and swimming pools. Water sports are a great way to stay active and have fun.

“Water activities like swimming and boating can be a lot of fun and a great way to cool down, but drowning is a danger we all need to think about,” says Mike Adams, manager with Interior Health’s healthy communities team.

“Drowning can happen fast, sometimes in less than a minute. Make sure you and your family are playing it safe this summer by following these tips for water safety.”

  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Do not go beyond your abilities. Do not go farther or into deeper water than you can handle.
  • Never dive into unknown water. Underwater objects may appear deeper than they really are.
  • Don’t mix alcohol or substance use with water activities.
  • Always supervise children when around water; a child can drown in seconds in only a few inches of water.
  • Install four-sided fencing around pools with a gate that cannot be opened by a child, and child proof or lock doors that open directly to a backyard pool area.
  • Learn life-saving techniques including CPR and artificial respiration.
  • Take a marine safety course.
  • Always wear a life-jacket when on a boat, personal water craft (such as a Jet Ski), paddle board or any other water craft; nearly 90 per cent of all boaters who drown are not wearing a life-jacket or not wearing it properly.
  • Always have a spotter when towing people who are skiing, wake boarding or riding on an inflatable.
  • Use caution when near water. Falling into a pool or other body of water can be very dangerous. If you hit your head and become unconscious, you can drown very quickly.

Drowning is almost always preventable. July 19-26 is National Drowning Prevention week – a week dedicated to reducing the number of water-related fatalities and near-drowning incidents by raising awareness of water safety.

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