Alberta parents have a false sense of security when their children are near water, a new Red Cross study suggests.

Staying Safe Around Water

The Red Cross has several tips for parents and anyone who will be around water this summer.

  • Always stay within arms reach of children.
  • It takes one inch of water to drown, so don't ignore the risks of bathtubs and wading pools.
  • Life jackets help save children and adults equally.
  • Even with a buddy, children can still drown. Adult supervision is always necessary.
  • Drowning is silent. Don't wait for screams or splashes to check on a child.
  • Don't use alcohol or drugs when around water.

More than 1000 parents with children under the age of 19 were surveyed in the research. The findings suggest that parents in Alberta don't fully understand the realities associated with drowning, particularly when it comes to water depth.

"It's that false sense of security when it comes to shallow water," said Noralee Peters with the Canadian Red Cross.

"One in five Alberta parents have admitted that they don't need to supervise their kids under six if they're going to be playing around water, not necessarily doing water activities such as swimming."

98 per cent of parents with children under the age of four said water depth influences their level of supervision.

However, the misconception that water depth is a risk factor for drowning is something the organization says is concerning.

"It takes less than an inch for drowning and for kids, that can be anywhere and everywhere," said Peters.

Peak drowning season is now

After a long winter, the lure of summer cabins and backyard swimming pools can be strong.

But as many Albertans start taking advantage of the warm weather, the province has already entered peak drowning season.

According to the Red Cross, 60 per cent of child drownings happen between June and August.

"If past trends continute, 34 children could drown between today and Labour Day," said Kevin Paes, water safety manager for the Canadian Red Cross in Western Canada.

That number is one the organization says is entirely preventable.

"Parents need to understand there are all types of preventable measures but it doesn't replace their role in being there, in the water, with their child," Peters said.

"With summer around the corner, we urge parents to understand the risks to children not just when they are in the water, but also when they are on or near it."