Keep Your Family Safe Around Water

Growing up in the city my mom would take us on the bus every other day throughout the summer to swimming lessons. We did not have a pool or live by a lake. But she knew it was important for us to know how to swim. Our safety was the most important and she knew the benefits of us learning water safety. Years later we got a cottage by the lake, Bought a boat and I went to friends houses who owned pools and we had field trips to water parks with our school. I was so grateful that I knew how to swim. Not only did it allow me to enjoy my time with friends but it also gave me confidence and my parents peace of mind knowing I had the skills needed.

When I became a mom I made it a priority for my children to learn how to swim. We lived on an island surrounded by water. Then when we moved, we lived by a lake. I remember my teen saying to me that he was the “Only Canadian kid who did not know how to skate” As I chuckled I responded “Well you know how to swim and that is more important“. He was not impressed but could not argue that. All of my children took swimming lessons and learned how to swim. As soon as they were old enough for lessons, I had them enrolled. I continued them in lessons for as long as they wished giving them endurance and skills that could possibly save their lives and maybe even their friends. Two of them have had first aid training as have I and my husband. You can never be too safe when it comes to water safety!

Now when my children go swimming with their friends and their school I am confident they will be ok. However I always talk to the adults attending to make sure there will be supervision. No matter how skilled a child is, accidents can happen and children should always be supervised by water. A bump on the head and knowing how to swim will not be enough.

Children are not the only ones that need to be safe around water. Summer seems to go hand in hand with parties and entertaining. But you need to be safe and responsible. Drinking alcohol and water don’t mix – alcohol should be avoided for those in, on and around the water. This includes boating and hanging out at the beach.

According to drowning statistics (2009-2014), an average of 35 children age 1-14 died by drowning each year while playing in or around water. We always hear it on the news and wonder what could have been done to prevent such a tragedy. Below are a few things you can do to help keep children safe while near water:

  • Always actively supervise children – it’s not enough to be nearby, eyes need to be on kids all the time.  Parents seem to be more distracted than usual, reading a book, texting or surfing the internet by the pool is not active supervision.  Consider requiring young children and non or weak swimmers to wear a lifejacket to help them stay at the surface.
  • If you need to step away from supervising children near water should take them with them
  • Backyard pools should be properly fenced and have self-closing and self-latching gates.  Pool decks should be cleared of toys and debris to prevent trips and falls. Kiddie pools should be drained when not being supervised.

Hundreds of fatalities happen annually as a result of unintentional falls into water. Tragically, Canadians drown in pools and natural bodies of water like lakes and oceans every year. Sadly 1 in 5 fatalities from falls into water are children under the age of 5.

Drowning doesn’t look like what you may think it looks like. Watch this video to see it through a child’s eyes. (Note this video may be disturbing to some)

Many communities offer different levels of swimming lessons for children and adults. You can sign up for private lessons from a certified instructor in their own backyards or at a community pool. Often they offer geared to income subsidy as well if cost is an issue.

Keep your family safe around water this summer, every summer and all year-long. Visit for more information on how to keep your kids safe this summer.

Have your children taken swimming lessons?

Disclosure-I am sharing this important message as a member of the Red Cross Canada water and pool safety blog team working with Thrifty Mom Media. I have been compensated, but this is an issue that is important to me and my opinion is truthful. 


  1. Water safety and basic swimming skills are so important. My kids take lessons with school and have had private lessons in our pool in Vegas a couple summers ago. Their skills grow by leaps and bounds with every lesson.

  2. My kids will be learning basic swim skills. My oldest has already started. We also use life jackets at the pool for now.

  3. These are great tips! I’m not a strong swimmer and have been really pushing my kids to be more confident in the water.

  4. This is good information to keep in mind. It’s so nice to spend time by the water right now but you have to be careful.

  5. My son took a few years of swim lessons. My daughter was about to but then she just kind of taught herself to swim. She had remembered all the “water rules” from tagging along at her brothers lessons. We have a pool so I totally am on board w/ making sure everyone is safe around the water.

  6. It’s so scary to think of how quickly accidents happen. These are great reminders for anyone near a pool to be mindful and make the necessary precautions.

  7. This is so important. Swimming is a life skill. Everyone needs to know how to swim, respect the water and do first aid required near the water. We started our kids in swimming early on. I am glad we did because they are confident swimmers now.

  8. I am absolutely paranoid about water safety. My husband and I taught all of our kids to swim as early as possible. They can be safe and have fun.

  9. Water safety is so important! When I was younger, a neighborhood kid almost died because she couldn’t swim. I never forgot it, and ALL of my kids no how to swim. Thanks for the tips.

  10. I have to share this post with everyone in Arizona. The amount of drownings here is astronomical. We moved from Missouri (where drownings were rarely heard of) and now it’s literally every week that at least one kid dies. It’s so sad. Knowing how to swim is extremely important.

  11. brokenteepee says

    When my family moved to the Jersey shore from Philadelphia the first thing my mother did was sign us all up for swimming lessons. It’s a very important skill. Even if you just learn how to tread water you can keep yourself alive until help comes.

  12. I am in my thirties and I still cannot swim, so at this moment my nephew is on holiday so I am telling my sister in law to teach him to swim all the time.

  13. Thank you for posting this! I fear all too often parents do not respect the dangers the water can bring. Yes so many fun water activities but we can never take our eye off them!

  14. kellyhutchinson37920 says

    This is so important! You really do have to keep the kids in your vision at all times. Just turning away for a second can lead to a tragedy.

  15. My kids do not have access to pools much here, but I can appreciate these helpful tips. I would have them wear life jackets at all times.

  16. This is such important information. I’ve heard of too may deaths this summer due to drowning!

  17. Such an important topic! My mother is a nurse in Florida and has seen so many ER visits due to drownings from people’s own backyards! 🙁

  18. It is SO important to make sure children are watched and paid attention to around the water in the summertime and year round!

  19. Elizabeth Lampman says

    Water safety is so important to teach our kids. I think all kids should have swimming lessons. Knowing how to swim could save their life.

  20. These are very important tips. Keeping the family safe around water should always be top priority.

  21. So important! We go camping all of the time and are always around water. I take water safety very seriously. Love your tips!

  22. I think teaching to kids water safety and how to swim at a very early age is key to keeping them safe around water. I know baby swim classes are scary to see and think about but they are so so so important!!

  23. Water safety is so important. Children should always be supervised. Thankfully, my daughter has her lifeguard certification.

  24. It’s really important that we never take our eyes off the kids, if it’s possible we should definitely be in the water with them. I think these are great reminders for parents especially this season.

  25. It’s so important to teach our kids about water safety. It’s sad that so many kids drown each year.

  26. Victoria Ess says

    Great reminders! Knowing how to swim and about water safety is so important.

  27. This is super scary. I remember when my older son was almost 3 and we were getting out of the pool. He decided to take off and he jumped back in. It was in the 3 feet. I remember my body froze and I didn’t know what to do. I guess it was shock. Thankfully, there was some people in the pool near where he jumped in. They grabbed him. It was so scary.

    My youngest now has a puddle jumper and he loves it.

  28. Water is really so dangerous! I am on high alert whenever my kids are near the water.

  29. Great tips, water safety is so important. We finally got swim lessons for our youngest boy this Summer.

  30. Gabriel Bregg says

    Growing up in the Great Lake State, this is critical for us. My in laws live on a lake so our kids have been in around around the water since they were a few months old.

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