Toddlers are at high risk because they are mobile, curious and
require constant, close supervision by an adult. Most toddler
drownings occur when children are alone, even for "a moment" and
fall in while playing near water.
Children under five years of age depend on parents and
caregivers because they cannot protect or rescue themselves.
Important facts and reminders:
If you are not within arms' reach of your children
anytime they are around water, you are too far.
Drowning is a silent killer and can happen in as little as 10
seconds. Parents and caregivers must be within arms' reach of their
children whenever they are near water - in the backyard, at the
beach, and in the bathroom. Simple things like reading or checking
your phone can easily result in a lapse in attentiveness long
enough for a child to get into trouble.
Restrict and control access to water for children - make
sure they can't get to water without you.
Many toddlers drown because they unexpectedly gained access to
the water - the backyard pool, the lake or the bathtub. Typically,
human error leads to a gate or door being left open or a lock
If you can't eliminate the water hazard, restrict access to it
by fencing off natural or manmade bodies of water on your property
and ensure that gates are self-closing and self-latching. Drain
bathtubs when not in use, and empty unattended wading pools and
buckets of water and turn them over. Layers of protection will
reduce the chance of human error.
Stay tubside until the water has fully
Most bathtub drownings occur because children are left alone for
"just for a moment" - so parents and caregivers should stay within
arms' reach around water even inside the home.
Put toddlers in a lifejacket.
As an extra layer of protection, put toddlers in a lifejacket
when they are near water. Lifejackets do not replace attentive
supervision, but will keep a toddler at the surface, which may give
parents the seconds they need to save a life.
Designate a backyard pool "lifeguard."
An adult should always supervise children using a pool -
in-ground, above-ground or wading pool. If one adult must be absent
for a moment, designate a replacement or close the pool until
someone can assume supervisory duties.
Enroll in Parent & Tot aquatic
A positive introduction to water can give your child a lifetime
of swimming pleasure. Download the Society's new Within Arms' Reach
poster in English or French. Contact Daksha Moti for hard copies.
To order any brochures, posters and materials that the Society has
developed as part of the Water Smart campaign, visit
Tips for parents and caregivers of children Under 5
Download these tips for parents and caregivers of children under
Chinese - Simplified
Chinese - Traditional
Learn to Swim
Basic swimming ability is a fundamental requirement in any
meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada. The Lifesaving
Society offers training programs from learn-to-swim through advanced lifesaving, lifeguarding and leadership.
Our Swim for
Life program stresses lots of in-water practice to develop
solid swimming strokes and skills. We incorporate valuable Water
Smart® education that will last a lifetime.
Survive is a Lifesaving Society survival training program. Swim
to Survive is not a subsititute for swimming lessons; instead, it defines the
minimum skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep
water. People of all ages should be able to perform the Society's
Swim to Survive standard.