The Lifesaving Society’s 2011 National Drowning Report says drowning from recreational activities, mostly swimming, was the third most common way to die by drowning, followed by power boating and fishing. Ontario has the highest amount of reported drowning in Canada, with people aged 18 to 34 years old were the highest percentage. There was an increase in drownings from 2009 to 2010 in regards to children under five.
The majority of toddler’s deaths by drowning happen when they are alone. The Lifesaving Society warns that a drowning is often silent and can happen within ten seconds. It is suggested children always be within arms length around water.
“Generally speaking, the BIG reminders from DRPS are to never swim alone, swim in designated areas and always wear a personal flotation device when boating/windsurfing/jet skiing or whenever you might be on the water,” said Sargent Nancy van Rooy from the Durham Regional Police Services. “Also, drinking while operating a boat is illegal. And know the water you are in, such as conditions and currents and tides.”
Canadian Red Cross echos the advice of DRPS and offers more tips:
• Never consume alcohol or drugs near water.
• When boating always wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD).
• Always have necessary safety equipment (in good condition) and a first aid kit.
• When children are swimming in pools, they must be fenced in with a self-closing, self-latching gate and always ensure an adult is supervising.
• When swimming, know the depth of the water, and know your own limits.
The YMCA offers swimming lessons for both children and adults. Adult lessons are offered twice weekly to members and non-members have the option of purchasing a day pass. For children, the YMCA has a program called Swim to Survive emphasizing the importance of knowing how to swim. More lessons are offered after this program is complete to build upon these skills. The Durham branch can be found in downtown Oshawa at the corner of William Street East and Mary Street North.
Story and image by Hillary Di Menna