Thursday, July 15, 2010


Tonight there was sad news from Peterborough, the body of a 4 year old boy was pulled from the waters  of the Otonabee River at Inverlea Park. Police say the boy was swimming with family when he failed to surface from the water. The youngster apparently was swept away by swift currents. There is word there was no adult present at the time.

This latest drowning comes on the heels of a deadly start to the summer. There have now been 14 people who have drown in the last three weeks.

It is National Drowning Prevention Week. According to the Canadian Lifesaving Society drowning deaths have continued to increase in recent years.

Below is a summary of facts about drowning deaths in Canada. The statistics are from data compiled from the Chief Coroner’s Offices in all provinces. The year 2006 is the most recent year for which data is available. In Canada:

• Nearly 500 people die every year in water-related incidents (In 2006 508 people drowned in Canada)

• Drowning deaths decreased for children from 0-17 years of age, but increased for adults 18-34 and adults 50-64 (The highest increase in drownings was among 50-64 year olds. Adults 18-34 had the next highest drowning increase)

• Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years of age

• 61 per cent of drownings occur in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and waterfalls

• 6 per cent of all drowning deaths (32 total) occurred in private pools

• 57 per cent of drowning deaths occur while participating in aquatic activities such as swimming or boating

• 58 per cent of drowning deaths occurred while the victims were engaged in recreational activities

• Of the total number of drowning deaths, 85 per cent were amongst males and 15 per cent were amongst females

By age group, toddlers 2-4 years of age have the second highest drowning risk in Ontario. The average annual preventable water-related death rate (over the 1992-1998 period) for 2-4 year olds has been 1.8 deaths per 100,000 versus the provincial average for all age groups of 1.4 per 100,000 population.
Most of these children were alone (60%) and playing near water (70%) when they fell in and drowned.
Parents are the focus of the target group given their role as the supervisor of their children

The message for parents of children 2-4 years from the Lifesaving Society is if you are not within arms’ reach of your children anytime they are around water, you have gone too far.

Among the recommendations:

- Never leave a child alone in on or near water – whether it is a backyard pool, wading pool, bathtub or a lake. The drowning process can take as little as 10 seconds.
- Pool owners should ensure that fences enclose all sides of a pool, not just the three that municipal law requires.
- Keep a close eye on sliding and patio doors. Ensure doors are locked and put alarm on the door to be absolutely sure.
- Ensure all gates have a self-closing latch and that gates are locked to keep children out of the pool area when it is not in use.
- Keep safety equipment around the pool, for easy access including a reaching pole, a ring buoy or other floating objects that can be thrown to someone in need. Also, keep a cordless phone nearby for emergencies.

 There are lots of opportunities for children to learn how to swim. Every child should learn to swim. And every adult should learn CPR.