When Days Are Hot: Swimming Safely



By: BEV SPRITZER  
Published: July 8th 2010
in News » Local

Illustration
Pic: WikiMedia Commons

With record heat waves hitting Toronto this summer, it can be tempting to jump into the nearest pool or body of water without thinking.

 

According to Safe Kids Canada, however, certain safety precautions need to be kept in mind, as drowning is apparently one of the leading causes of death in Canadian children aged one to four.

 

And this is just for toddlers. The numbers go up once other ages are factored in.

 

Sadly, there have been various headlines as of late regarding drowning, though not only involving children.

 

Just this past Tuesday, Etobicoke man Kosmas “Mike” Vellianis was pulled from 7.5 metres of water in Lake Dalrymple near the Kawarthas. He was found more than 18 hours after his two sons were found floating in the waters.

 

The boys had been wearing life jackets, which ultimately saved them, although their father, sadly, had not been.

 

According to Barbara Byers of The Lifesaving Society, only 1 per cent of drownings occur in lifeguard-supervised water, and given that three-quarters of drownings typically occur in lakes, rivers and oceans, there is a strong case for positioning more lifeguards at beaches.

 

But pools have been making headlines as well. According to a recently published article in the Toronto Star, ten people have drowned in Ontario in just 10 days. On Tuesday, a 13-year-old Bradford boy drowned in a backyard pool, making him the fourth teen to drown recently.

 

As well, two 14-year-old boys died after being pulled from a Scarborough apartment pool June 30, and a 12-year-old boy drowned in the Don Valley Hotel pool last Saturday.

 

Ontario does not require lifeguards at most condo and hotel pools, however.

 

Some interesting facts: Seventy-five per cent of drownings are adults, and 80 per cent of those are men. As well, Ontario averaged about 150 drownings per year between 2000 and 2006, according to the latest statistics available.

 

Research suggests that a simple fence bordering all four sides of a pool’s perimeter can prevent 7 out of 10 drownings in children under 10. According to Red Cross Canada, home swimming pools account for 38% of toddler drownings.

 

Also according to Red Cross, if all home pools were equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates, nearly all toddler pool drownings, and about one-third of all toddler drownings in general, could be eliminated.

 

As far as adults are concerned, however, it seems as though the use of common sense is the best form of prevention.



Related articles: (swimming pools, safety tips)
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