“Fun, Family and freedom” are words we often associate with the cottage. But living without a care in the world could, in fact, prove deadly. Water is a silent killer. Drownings are the third leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years of age. They can happen in less than a minute and in just centimetres of water.

Lifesaving Society courses can teach you and your family prevention strategies, self-rescue, rescue of others and basic first aid. (See the Lifesaving Programs section or contact your Branch for more information.) In the meantime, follow these safety tips:

If you have small children, remember these tips.

  1. Restrict access to the water.
    Always know how your children can get to the water and establish protective barriers to prevent them from getting access to it. You might even need to crawl around at your children’s height to see things that they can, but you can’t.
  2. Lock all doors when you are inside the cottage.
  3. Secure low windows that a child might crawl through.
  4. Build locked, childproof gates around your deck.
  5. Establish rules that must be followed when around the water.
    Some families require that non-swimming children wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) whenever they are outside the cottage.
  6. Always stay “within arms’ reach.”
    It’s not enough to be nearby on a dock reading a book while your child is playing on the beach. If you’re not “within arms’ reach” of your child, you’ve gone too far.
  7. Make sure your child is wearing a lifejacket or PFD when playing near water.
  8. Closely supervise children with inflatable toys.
    The toys can blow away from shore and children will often follow them into deeper water. Supervise floating mats closely. Children (and adults) can get caught underneath them and go unnoticed until it’s too late.
  9. Ensure that children always wear a lifejacket or PFD when in a boat.
    …and set a good example for your children by wearing one yourself.
  10. Be prepared. Take some lifesaving and first aid training.
    Know what to do if something does happen.