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10 water safety tips for a safe and happy summer

Know the risks and how to protect your family

School is finished and summer is finally here, which means more opportunity to enjoy swimming and boating outdoors. With any activity in the water, there comes a risk of drowning, no matter how strong a swimmer you are – fortunately, drowning deaths are entirely preventable with water safety knowledge:

  1. When a child is in the water, an adult needs to be actively supervising them at all times, within arms’ reach of the child.

In 95% of child drownings in Ontario, supervision was absent or distracted.

  1. Backyard pools should be fenced in on all four sides, with a self-closing and self-latching pool gate (in order to prevent young children from accessing the pool unsupervised).

Backyard pools are the most common place where children under 5 years old drown in Canada.

  1. When swimming in open water, always swim in areas supervised by lifeguards.
  2. Weak or non-swimmers should wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device in water, including lakes and backyard pools.
  3. All passengers in a boat should wear a lifejacket or PFD (even strong swimmers).

In 90% of boating drownings in Ontario, the person wasn’t wearing a lifejacket

  1. Check the weight range on your lifejacket, and make sure there is no more than 3 inches of room between your shoulders and the lifejacket.
  2. The driver of the boat should be completely sober.

DID YOU KNOW …?In 35% of boating drownings in Ontario, alcohol was involved.

  1. Always swim or boat with another person.

In 66% of drownings among older adults in Ontario, the person was alone.

  1. When an infant or toddler is in the bathtub, always stay by the bathtub until all the water has drained, or the child has left the tub.

66% of infant drowning deaths in Canada occurred in a bathtub.

  1. Teens and adults should learn CPR, in case of drowning emergencies.

The BWG Leisure Centre offers swimming lessons for all ages and drop-in swim hours. To view the BWG Leisure Guide and Online Registration, visit

The drowning statistics in this article were sourced from the Lifesaving Society. For more tips on water safety and drowning prevention, visit:

The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury currently holds the Lifesaving Society's Darnell Cup, which is awarded annually to the municipal affiliate that raises the most money for Water Smart drowning prevention through fundraising events.