The country’s leading organization responsible for drowning prevention says there’s a group which needs some more attention, as they continue their campaign to prevent death and injury in the water.
New Canadians tweens.
The Lifesaving Society commissioned a study which found tweens, aged 11-14, who are new to this country are five times more likely than their Canadian-born friends, to not know how to swim.
Even so, 93% say they do take part in activities in or around the water.
“The results of the study confirmed observations from our 2010 research; that families coming to Canada often have different knowledge or experiences around issues of water safety and the importance of learning to swim. We undertook this research to focus specifically on tweens, to gain insight into the best ways to communicate to them about water safety and to motivate them to learn to swim.” – Barbara Byers, Public Education Director for the Lifesaving Society.
Byers adds this age group is very important to reach.
“Despite the desire for greater independence, parents and schools still have a level of influence on their daily activities. Tweens and teens who continue into young adulthood without learning to swim are moving into a very high risk category. The 2016 Canadian Drowning Report supports this. It indicates that 20-24 year-olds had one of the highest drowning rates. Learning even basic survival swimming skills at this age will provide protection into adulthood.”
More of findings from “The Influence of Ethnicity on Tweens Swimming & Water Safety in Canada”:
-68% of new Canadian tweens say they participate in water activities vs. 90% of tweens born in Canada, but nearly 17% of new Canadian tweens say they are unable to swim vs. 3% of those born here.
-34% say they can swim a bit vs. 10% of those born in Canada
-many new Canadian tweens admit they’re not confident about their abilities. 25% admit they wouldn’t be able to meet the Swim to Survive standard of “jumping into deep water at a pool, supporting themselves on the surface for 1 minute and then swimming 2 lengths of a community pool”
-many new Canadian tweens also worry they might drown/get hurt while swimming (49% of new Canadians vs. 21% of those born in Canada)
“We want to encourage families who are new to Canada to make learning to swim a part of their Canadian experience. The research shows that there are some challenges for new Canadian tweens and their families to learn to swim – family, cultural and religious, as well as the time constraints and struggles of day-to-day life. The research also gives us valuable insights into how we can evolve and promote programs like Swim to Survive to help overcome some of these challenges.”