Girl smiling in swimming pool

Tips to prevent drowning in pools and open water.

Drowning is the second leading cause of injury related death for Canadian children. Children can be at risk of drowning because they may overestimate their own skills or underestimate the depth of the water. Even a good swimmer can get into trouble.

Drowning prevention tips

  • Always stay within sight and reach of your child when he or she is in or near water. This includes backyard pools, bathtubs, and open bodies of water such as lakes, rivers and oceans. An older sibling or buddy cannot safely supervise a younger child.
  • Get trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), first aid, water rescue and swimming skills. If your child was to get into trouble while you were supervising, water safety training could help save their life.
  • Install four-sided pool fencing. Most backyard pool fences go around only three sides of the pool. Pool fencing should be at least 1.2 metres high (four feet) and have a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Wear lifejackets. Young children under five years of age and weak swimmers should wear lifejackets when they are in, on or around the water. You and your child should always wear lifejackets when riding in a boat. Make sure the lifejacket fits your child's weight and fits snugly.
  • Take swimming lessons. Swimming lessons are a good way for children to gain confidence around water.
  • Swim at locations with lifeguards whenever possible.
  • Don’t underestimate the dangers of open water and currents. Playing in or around fast moving water is very dangerous. Even strong swimmers are at risk. Learn more about staying safe in open water.