TORONTO, June 25, 2015 –  Summer has arrived and families across the country are preparing for vacations and getaways that often include water activities. A recent RBC Insurance survey shows that while 96 per cent of Canadian parents agree that water safety is important, drowning only ranked number three on their list of top ‘kid-related’ worries this summer.

The greatest worry for Canadian parents heading into summer was that their child would spend too much time indoors (59 per cent). Getting a sunburn was next on the list of parental concerns (58 per cent). Parents were not as concerned about the risk of drowning (46 per cent), ranking it just ahead of bike safety and general mischief making (both at 44 per cent).

According to the Lifesaving Society, the majority of drownings happen between May and September, with 34 per cent of all drownings taking place during July and August. More than half of all fatal incidents occur on the weekend, when participation in aquatic recreation is highest.

The poll also revealed that while most parents (93 per cent) agreed that every Canadian should be able to swim, only 57 per cent agreed that their child was a strong swimmer. A quarter (25 per cent) of Canadian children over the age of 10 – an age when many children are left unsupervised – were not considered strong swimmers by their parents. Less than half (45 per cent) of 5-9 year olds were considered strong swimmers by their parents.

“Given the dangers of drowning, and the low numbers of children who are strong swimmers, swimming lessons and safety around the water needs to become a greater priority for Canadian parents,” says Rino D’Onofrio, head Canadian Insurance Business for RBC Insurance. “Water accidents happen in seconds so it’s important that parents take action to ensure their children know how to swim as they head to the water this summer.”

Last year RBC Insurance became the presenting sponsor of Canada’s Swim Team, the movement to teach every Canadian child how to swim and launched a program called ’25 metres matters’, designed to enable kids to swim at least 25 metres non-stop by the age of 12.

“We know that teaching kids to swim 25 metres can help save lives. Our goal is to raise water safety awareness and to teach children to swim at an early age so they become more water-safe, healthier and confident,” added D’Onofrio.

Water Safety Tips for Families
With the summer swimming season hitting its peak, RBC Insurance worked with Martha McCabe, RBC Olympian and the reigning Canadian champion in the 200m breaststroke, to offer the following tips for keeping families safe around water:

  • Small children should never be left alone near water. Parents should always be within arm’s reach and actively supervise. According to the Canadian Red Cross, only 10 per cent of small children who drown actually planned to enter the water.
  • Teach your children that an adult must always enter the water and provide approval before the children enter. Once children are in the water, give your full attention to supervising.
  • Always make sure your children wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) on boats, personal watercraft and in open bodies of water where additional flotation will provide an extra layer of protection. Remember however, that PFDs and inflatable toys are not a substitute for supervision.

**People should remember to wear proper sun protection and sunscreen, stay hydrated and keep cool. The BC Government has provided a number of tips on health-related illnesses and how you can stay healthy.**

About the RBC Insurance Poll
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 10 and June 15, 2015 on behalf of RBC Insurance. For this survey, a sample of 1,008 Canadian parents (with children under the age of 18 living in the home) were interviewed via the Ipsos I-Say panel. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian parents been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance®, through its operating entities, provides a wide range of travel, life, health, home, auto, wealth and reinsurance products and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance has more than four million clients globally. We are one of the largest Canadian bank-owned group of insurance companies, and among the fastest growing insurance organizations in the country. RBC Insurance employs more than 3,000 employees, and is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada.
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For more information, please contact:
Greg Skinner, RBC Corporate Communications, 416-294-5579
Bob Stellick, Stellick Marketing, 416-347-3191

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