School-aged children (5 to 12 years old) still need adult protection around the water. Drowning is fast and silent, even among this age group, so supervision and clear boundaries must be established.

Swim with a buddy - don't go into the water alone or without an adult present.

Half of drowning victims in this age group are swimming or playing in the water alone or only with other minors.


Wear a lifejacket.

Weak and non-swimmers should wear a lifejacket to keep them safe in the water - especially lakes and rivers where water is cold.

Go to lifeguard supervised pools and beaches.

For safer play near the water, take children to beaches and pools supervised by certified lifeguards. Lifeguards do not replace direct parental supervision but act as an extra layer of protection.

Tips for parents and caregivers of children 5-12

Download these tips for parents and caregivers of children 5-12 (English).


Read these tips in 10 other languages:



Chinese - Simplified

Chinese - Traditional







Learn to Swim

Basic swimming ability is a fundamental requirement in any meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada. The Lifesaving Society offers training programs from learn-to-swim through advanced lifesaving, lifeguarding and leadership.

Our Swim for Life program stresses lots of in-water practice to develop solid swimming strokes and skills. We incorporate valuable Water Smart® education that will last a lifetime.

Swim to Survive is a Lifesaving Society survival training program. Swim to Survive is not a subsititute for swimming lessons; instead, it defines the minimum skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. People of all ages should be able to perform the Society's Swim to Survive standard.