National Drowning Prevention Week runs until this Saturday and the Lifesaving Society wants the public to keep safe.
The Society’s Public Education Director Barbara Byers says on average there are between 450 and 500 drownings in Canada each year. Byers says this time in July is really when most of the drownings happen.
“We want to draw attention to the fact that most drownings are preventable and if we can speak to people when they’re going to be in the water and they’re going to be around water, then maybe we can help prevent some drownings.”
Seniors still have the highest drowning rate. Byers says seniors may still go swimming or in a boat by themselves but they may not be as strong as they used to be if they get into trouble and the society is seeing a drowning spike in that age group.
Byers says drowning is silent and happens in about 20 seconds and so people looking after children need to keep kids within an arms-reach away and must have eyes on them at all times. Byers says don’t be distracted by the phone or activities around you when watching children swim. She also says put a life jacket on non-swimmers and young children.
For children a bit older, Byers says to put them in swimming lessons as learning to swim is a life skill.
When you’re out boating, Byers says to wear a life jacket and don’t drink alcohol.
“Many people think if they had a life jacket in the boat they could reach out and put it on if they’re in trouble but in most cases when people drown the immersion is very sudden and unexpected.”
First aid training is also suggested because every second can make a difference in someone’s life.
For more information about the Lifesaving Society, visit their website here.