Published on July 13, 2023

Summer Water Safety

Water safety awareness is important this time of year with more people enjoying activities in and around water. Over 400 Canadians drown in preventable water-related incidents annually. Young adults 20-34, baby boomers 50-64, and seniors 65+ are at the highest risk for drowning. Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under the age of 10.

Even one drowning is one too many.

Watch Me Swim - Not Your Phone 

In Alberta, the supervisor being absent or distracted is 100 per cent of the risk factors associated with children drowning under the age of five. Whether it's a pool, bathtub, water park or beach; always watch children actively around water — even if they can swim. Remind your children and young adults frequently about water safety, it could save a life.

Kids playing in outdoor inflatable pool with toys

Water Safety Tips:

  • Supervise children. Always directly supervise children around the water—if you are not within arms’ reach, you’ve gone too far. 
  • Always wear a lifejacket when in a boat.
  • Stay sober in, on, and around the water. Alcohol consumption is a factor in many water related fatalities. Both alcohol and cannabis use impair balance, judgment, and reflexes. Stay sober when in, on or around the water.
  • Make smart choices before going in, on or around 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 metres in height, with gaps no larger than 10 centimetres) along with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Swimming skills need to be taught. Most drownings occur close to safety – can you survive an accidental or unintentional fall into the water? Basic swimming abilities can help save your life. Learn more about the City’s Aquatic's Programs.
  • You can save a life! Yours, and someone else’s. Take a learn-to-swim, lifesaving or first aid class today.

National Drowning Prevention Week (July 17-23)

The third week in July is designated as National Drowning Prevention Week. The goal is to build awareness and educate communities about drowning prevention.

Child Kyaking

COLD Water Awareness - Lakes, Rivers and Streams  

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 (or major muscle groups) and become at risk of hypothermia when unexpected immersion occurs.

When in water always remember to:

  • Stay sober
  • Actively supervise children
  • 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 18, 2023