Thousands of deaths each year are attributable to unintentional drownings and many of the victims are children. That’s why, countries such as the United States and Canada are starting to take this issue seriously and implementing water safety programs as part of their school curriculum.
In Ontario, Canada, the provincial government offers a grant to schools who give their students “Swim to Survive” training. This water safety program was developed by the Lifesaving Society and is offered to Grade 3 students. Kids are taught the “minimum skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water”.
My daughter just went through this program. The kids were taken to the local Y, where they participated in two sessions of one and a half hours each. In addition, prior to the program, my daughter’s teacher spent some time in the classroom, talking about various aspects of water safety (e.g. always wear a life jacket while in a boat).
Watch this brief video by the Lifesaving Society, talking about the three skills children need to learn as a first step to water safety.
Another program, this one offered in northern Michigan, is aimed at teaching water safety skills to high-school students. Surrounded by large bodies of water, this community felt that teaching water smarts was almost as important as teaching safe driving skills, so they decided to do something about it. Check out this brief video for further details.
Water activities can be a lot of fun, but they can also be life-threatening if your children don’t have the skills they need to keep themselves safe. Please sign your children up for swimming lessons this summer and encourage your school boards to implement programs like the ones in the above videos! Let’s all do whatever we can to keep our kids safe!
For more tips on how to keep your children safe in and around water this summer, check out my post on Water Safety.