(NC) For children, playing in the water is a fun and exciting activity. But this activity is not without its dangers.

An average of 35 children ages one to 14 die by drowning each year while playing in or around water. The Canadian Red Cross says a small child can disappear in seconds and can drown in only a few centimetres of water, enough to cover the mouth and nose. Typically, drownings occur in backyard pools, toddler pools, the bathtub or at the beach.

Active supervision means more than just being nearby, you need to be paying close attention. Here are tips for parents and caregivers about supervision around water.

  • Avoid distractions and stay focused on the child. Reading a book, texting or surfing the internet by the pool is not active supervision.
  • Consider requiring all non-swimmers to wear a lifejacket to keep them at the surface and assist you while supervising. Pool toys do not provide the same level of safety as a lifejacket.
  • Backyard pools are especially dangerous for small children. Ensure adequate barriers are in place, such as four-sided fencing along with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Empty portable toddler pools after each use.
  • Caregivers who need to step away from their responsibilities as the supervisor near water should take children with them.

Find more tips or to sign your children up for swimming lessons online at redcross.ca.

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