Unfortunately, drowning is the second leading cause of death in children in Canada. While many drownings occur at the pool or the lake, most infant drownings occur in bathtubs and other small amounts of water. Toddlers are more likely to drown in swimming pools, but ponds, rivers, and lakes can also be a serious threat. Children can drown in less than one inch of water, so it is especially important to keep a watchful eye on kids when they are around water.
Drowning is not just a problem for children. Hundreds of adults drown each year in Canada as well. In fact, the highest age group under 65 for those who drowned in 2013 were between ages 20 and 24. Recreational activities are often to blame for many drowning deaths.
Canada is covered in roughly 890,000 square kilometers of water, which is about nine percent of the total area of the country. This large water presence also makes the incidence of drowning higher in Canada compared to some other countries. As such, it is important that Canadians know and implement drowning prevention tips and tricks to stay safe and keep loved ones safe.
Wear Your Life Vest or Personal Flotation Device
Of those who died in boat-related incidents, 82 percent were not wearing their personal flotation device or life jacket. Even if you have no intention of getting in the water, wearing your life jacket can help with sudden dangerous situations, such as unexpected poor weather or sudden stops. In those circumstances, you often do not have time grab your life vest if you are not already wearing one. In fact, only 25 per cent of unintentional fatalities in 2013 involved situations where the victim intended to get into the water.
Learn How to Swim
If you or a loved one is planning on spending any time on the water, whether it is in a boat oron the beach, it is a good idea to learn how to swim. Knowing the basics of even just treading water can save your life. Understanding how to get your head above water and keep it there can give time for rescue crews to make it to your location. Swimming is a lifelong skill, so it is never too late to take lessons, whether those lessons are from a friend or in a more formal setting.
Keep a Watchful Eye on Children and Others
The Canadian Red Cross reports that 60 per cent of drownings in Canada occur between May and August. That means that drownings are at their peak at this time of the year. Even when parents and caregivers are watching children, drowning can still occur because it often occurs quickly and with little noise. In fact, a child can drown in under a minute—so observing carefully is important. You should actively supervise children, which means staying nearby. Even adults should avoid going out onto the water alone, if possible.
Fence Your Backyard Pool
If you do not already have one, it is a good idea to put a fence around your pool so that guests do not “help themselves” to your pool. Having a fence can also decrease the occurrence of unintentional falls into the water as well. Be sure that your fence is at least four feet high, with no gaps larger than four inches—it should also cover all four sides of the pool. Self-latching and self-closing gates may also be a helpful feature.
Those who have lost a loved one due to a drowning incident or have experienced a non-fatal drowning incident themselves might have legal options if the incident was due to the fault of another person or entity. The team of lawyers at Diamond and Diamond can help you determine your legal options in those situations. Call 1-800-567-HURT for more information.