Prevent Drowning by Including Swim Schools in Phase 2 of Provincial Re-Openings

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As countries begin to emerge from distancing measures, we have seen a significant increase in drowning cases. With spring being an essential time for swim lessons, Canada's aquatic leaders are concerned we may see a similar trend as we enter the warmer months.

Drowning is the number one cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4 and a leading cause for young people up to 14 years of age. Due to international shutdowns implemented as a precaution towards Covid-19, families have been unable to attend swimming lessons where they learn potentially lifesaving skills for several months now. Participation in formal swimming lessons has been shown to reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88% for 1-4 year olds.

People are at home and parents are distracted with work. Children are being left unattended without consideration for adjacent water such as backyard pools, neighbour’s pools, community pools, inflatable pools, sinks, toilets, filled bathtubs, buckets, ditches filled with rainwater, oceans, lakes, and rivers. Every year, approximately 400 people drown in Canada with 64% of drownings occurring from May - September. As we quickly approach the summer, our concern continues to grow.

Swimming lessons cannot be taught remotely. With plans for provincial re-opening being released, we are concerned with how swimming lessons are being prioritized. Properly balanced swimming pools are among the safest places to be. The CDC states that chlorine and bromine render germs, viruses and pathogens inactive. The aquatic industry is working to establish best practices and we are willing to engage in a science-based dialogue with health officials regarding which measures would be appropriate for learn-to-swim programs.

If you believe that drowning prevention is something that our provincial governments should be advocating for, stand with us and sign our petition. Your support is greatly appreciated.