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When it comes to drowning, our goal is: TARGET ZERO.


Drowning is a quick and silent killer. It can happen in a matter of seconds. There will soon be activity on or around the water: swimming and wading pools, fun at the beach or cottage, and boating.

Children are at risk of drowning year-round but the risk increases in spring as ponds, lakes and rivers begin to thaw. Curious toddlers are often drawn to fast flowing water but they don't understand the dangers. The risk of drowning peaks in summer as more people use swimming pools, beaches and other bodies of water to cool off.

Young children most often drown in backyard swimming pools, bathtubs, rivers and lakes, hot tubs, ditches and ponds. Two-thirds of these drownings happen to those who never intended to get wet in the first place. Unattended toddlers are especially at risk of drowning because they are mobile and very curious. As a result, they need close and constant supervision by an adult. Children under five years of age are the least capable to self-rescue of any age group. Although these statistics are frightening, it is important to remember that drownings are preventable. Parents and caregivers are reminded to keep children within arm’s reach at all times when in or close to water.


Child Drownings in Canada (Reference:  Canadian Red Cross)

On average, 57 kids drown every year in Canada (43 male, 14 female)

98% of parents say “children must wear a lifejacket when boating”.  However, the majority of kids who drown while boating are not wearing one.

85% of parents say “swimming with a buddy changes the way they supervise a child in the water”.  Kids 5-14 who drown were with a buddy twice as often as they were alone.

1 in 3 kids who drown were not expected to be in the water.

Only 50% of parents say they always supervise their kids around water.

4 in 10 children drown in water less than 1 metre deep.

More than 90% of kids who drown in shallow water are not with an adult.

1 in 2 parents thing they can effectively supervise kids in the water by listening for signs of problems.  Children who drown are often silent.

Only 3% of kids who drown are identified as strong swimmers.

Findings are based on an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross between April 29 and May 7, 2013, using a sample of 1,003 parents with children under 19 in the household.  Drowning statistics are based on official reports of immersion-related deaths of chidlren under 19 from 2001 to 2010.