July 19 to 25 is National Drowning Prevention Week, which focuses on raising awareness on drowning prevention and strengthening the public’s ability to prevent water-related accidents.
According to the Lifesaving Society, a national, volunteer-led water safety organization, approximately 500 Canadians die each year in preventable, water-related incidents such as not wearing a life jacket, leaving children unsupervised in water, the inability to swim and alcohol consumption while operating a motorized water vehicle. The Lifesaving Society also reports that in Canada, 64 per cent of water-related deaths happen between May and September.
Whether you’re swimming, playing on the dock, or spending time on the water like a lake, pond, river, stream, using a boat or motorized water vehicle, keep water safety tips top-of-mind. Even if you’re an experienced swimmer, it’s important to pay attention, be aware and follow all water safety messaging.
Remember to look for dangers and risks associated with the water. Familiarize yourself with water conditions, be alert and aware of your surroundings, follow the rules and safety guidelines and ensure you have access to lifesaving equipment like a life preserver, life jacket or floatation device – like a pool noodle or flutter board.
Things to consider if you enjoy the water
Learn CPR – Learning CPR can dramatically improve a person’s chance of survival from cardiac arrest. To learn more about CPR and the courses the City offers, please visit mississauga.ca/swimming.
Learn to swim – Enrolling yourself and your children in swimming lessons. The City offers classes all ages and levels of ability. They include practise in technique, stroke development and endurance. They are available as group lessons, small class sizes and private lessons. The City operates 11 indoor pools that are open all year and seven outdoor pools that are open in the summer.
Swim with a buddy – It’s important to always have someone swim with you, where possible, in case something happens. Let someone know when, where and how long you plan on swimming for. When you are done swimming – check in with them to let them know you are safe.
Keep your children within arm’s reach – Even with a lifeguard on-site, the parent or caregiver is always the first line of defence. The best thing you can do to protect your kids from drowning is to actively and consistently supervise them when they are in or near water. Keep them at arm’s reach in case something happens, so you are close enough to help.
Swim in supervised areas – For a sense of security and comfort, swim in areas that are supervised by a lifeguard, like one the City’s seven outdoor pools.
Wear a personal floatation device – Wear a life jacket and have a personal flotation device while boating. Inexperienced swimmers should also wear them in pools or other bodies of water.
The City’s Pool Safety Measures
The City uses safety measures such as swim tests and colour-coded wristbands to make sure families have a safe and enjoyable swim. Pool staff may sometimes apply added safety procedures to make sure everyone, regardless of age, are safe in the water.
To ensure the safety of those using City-run pools, Mississauga’s community centres are fully-accessible and comply with the provincial health and safety standards.
Lifeguards are well-trained and maintain safety at all City-owned indoor and outdoor pools. Every City facility adheres to pool safety standards as per the Swimming Pool Enclosure (By-Law 115-04) that focuses on health, safety and the well-being of pool users.
The City of Mississauga is committed to improving the quality of our children’s programs by training our staff in the standards of HIGH FIVE® Principles of Healthy Child Development.
If you are interested, there are a variety of City-run learn-to-swim, aquatic and lifeguard training programs that residents can join. Learn more at mississauga.ca/swimming.
For more information about Recreation, programs visit https://web.mississauga.ca/recreation-and-sports. For news and updates, follow Recreation on Facebook and follow @MississaugaRec on Twitter.