Published on July 6, 2022

Summer Water Safety

With over 400 Canadians drowning in preventable water-related incidents annually, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death among Canadians under 60+ years of age. Even one drowning is one too many.

Watch Me Not Your Phone 

Unattended toddlers are high risk, due to their mobility and curious nature. They require close and constant supervision by an adult. In Alberta, 100 per cent of the risk factor for children less than five drowning is the supervisor being absent or distracted. Whether it's a pool, the bathtub, a water park, or the beach, always watch children actively around water-even if they can swim.

Toddler playing with yellow rubber duck and bubbles in bathtub

Tips for Safe Summer Fun

  • Empty portable toddler pools after each use.
  • Stay within arm’s reach! Adults should always be within arm’s reach of young children when in or near the water. 
  • Consider requiring all non-swimmers to wear a lifejacket to keep them at the surface to assist you while supervising. Remember: lifejackets and other flotation devices are a layer of protection, but do not replace adult supervision.
  • Backyard pools are especially dangerous for small children. Ensure adequate barriers are in place such as four-sided fencing (recommended at least 1.2 m in height, with gaps no larger than 10 cm) along with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Swim skills need to be taught; they are not innate. Most drowning occur close to safety – can you survive an accidental or unintentional fall into the water? Basic swimming ability is a requirement of any meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada. Learn more about the aquatics programs offered by the City.

National Drowning Prevention Week (July 17-23)

The third week in July is designated as National Drowning Prevention Week. At this time, effort is made to focus community and media attention on the drowning problem and drowning prevention.

Child Kyaking

Best Practices in Cold Water 

Water in Canada is cold! All bodies of water in St. Albert area, including Big Lake and Sturgeon River, are considered “cold water." When you are in these types of bodies of water, your skin and blood temperature in your arms and legs quickly drops. As a result, you may have trouble breathing, be unable to use your hands and are at risk of hypothermia when unexpected immersion occurs. 

To avoid this type of situation, always remember to:

  • Stay sober
  • Actively supervise children
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • Never underestimate the power of currents
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating

Written with information from the Lifesaving Society and Canadian Red Cross.

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Last edited: July 6, 2022