Health People, Healthy North
July 16 - 22, 2017

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Be Water Smart – National Drowning Prevention Week (July 16-22, 2017)

About 500 Canadians lose their life in preventable water-related incidents each year.  To bring awareness on this issue, National Drowning Prevention Week (NDPW) helps to teach and remind Canadians about being safe when near or in water.  NDPW takes place the third week of July, this year being July 16-22. 

As we head towards our local swimming pools, wading pools, beaches, lakes and rivers to cool off and have fun this summer, don’t forget these safe practices:

  • Always supervise and be within arms’ reach of children: don’t be distracted and always have your sights on your children, as they can get into trouble quickly and slip under water very quietly without shouting or waving.
  • Boat sober: alcohol is a factor in 75% of boating-related deaths in Manitoba – higher than in other provinces.
  • Wear a lifejacket: everyone should wear a lifejacket when on a watercraft (e.g. boat, kayak, canoe, paddle board, tube, seadoo, etc.) or when swimming if they – especially young children – don’t know how to swim, is a weak swimmer, or just learning to swim.  The lifejacket must be in good working condition and worn properly – this includes zipping- and buckling-up.  Make sure the lifejacket is the right size and the right weight-range for the person wearing it.  Choose bright-coloured lifejackets like orange, yellow or red.
  • Buoys at the beach: some swimming areas at the beach are indicated by buoys.  Swimmers cannot pass beyond the first set of buoys.  The area marked-off by the second set of buoys is the “keep-out” zone.  This is the buffer zone where swimmers and boaters are not allowed. 
  • Swimming: swim only in the designated areas.  Know your swimming limitations and don’t try to keep up with experienced swimmers; take swimming lessons to help build-up your swimming abilities.  Never swim alone and be sober – always swim with a buddy and watch out for each other.  Do not forget to check the water depth before diving. 
  • Inflatables: know that inflatables can drift out in the water, with children tending to follow.  Be cautious when using them – keep children supervised and within arms’ reach.

 Further readings and resources:

 Article submitted by: Carmen Ho, RD – NHR Health Promotion Specialist (, 204-778-6513 ext. 226).  Feel free to contact if any questions or for more information.  

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