Use an "On Guard Card" when around water with young children
Photo by Miguel Delmar on Unsplash

Each Friday, we feature a reader-submitted tip as our Travel Tip of the Day. This week’s tip comes from our friend Jim Byers and his wife Barbara, who works at the Lifesaving Society Ontario to prevent drowning and water-related injuries. Building on Wednesday’s tip on what drowning looks like, the Byers shared a heap of water safety tips via the Lifesaving Society website including a cool product for parents of young kids:

The On Guard Card ($8.45 CAD or $6.30 USD) was created by the Lifesaving Society to “remove any doubt as to who should be watching the children” around water. It hangs around a designated adult’s neck and lists the responsibilities assigned to that person as the water safety monitor on the back. As Barbara says in the video below, “every year there are a number of drownings in backyard pools because parents and caregivers are not always crystal-clear as to who’s minding the children.” For under $10, you can remove the doubt and keep your kids safer. That’s a great idea.

YouTube video

From the Lifesaving Society, here as well are more facts about drowning to know:

  • Drowning remains the 3rd leading cause of accidental death in Canada for people 60 years of age and under.
  • Drowning is 2nd to automobile injuries as the leading cause of accidental death in Ontario among children under 10 years.
  • The majority of people who drown have no intention of going into water. Their immersion is sudden and unexpected.
  • Adults over 65 years of age have the highest drowning rate. The second highest drowning rate is with adults 20-34 years of age.
  • Drownings are most likely to occur in summer months (65% between May and September) in natural bodies of water such as lakes and rivers (43% and 22% respectively).
  • Drownings in bathtubs continue to be the number one man-made setting where drownings occur in Ontario (16%). In the 2011-2015 period, 11% of all drownings occurred in pools.
  • Less than 1% of drownings occurred in a lifeguard supervised setting.
  • Swimming is the most common recreational activity that individuals participated in prior to drowning (31%).
  • One fifth of all fatalities are boating-related in Ontario (19%). The majority during occur powerboat usage (55%) followed by canoeing.
  • Of those who drowned while boating, 92% were found not wearing a lifejacket.

Stay safe this summer. Thanks, Jim and Barbara!



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