Despite a downward trend, drowning is still the third leading cause of death in Canada.
Drowning is preventable, which is why the Lifesaving Society Canada in bringing awareness to the matter during National Drowning Prevention Week, which runs July 16 to July 22.
“The mission of Lifesaving Society Canada is to prevent drowning — even one drowning is one too many,” the society says.
Over 450 people fatally drown in Canada each year, making it the second leading cause of unintentional death for children and the third leading cause of unintentional death for adults.
In particular, the society notes that Indigenous, northern, and new Canadians have a disproportionately high mortality burden.
“In fact, the drowning burden is so great around the world that the United Nations General Assembly passed the UN Resolution on Drowning Prevention and named July 25 of each year as World Drowning Prevention Day.”
During awareness and prevention week, the Lifesaving Society of Canada will be educating and promoting safety awareness in, on and around the water.
“Statistics show that almost 70 per cent of drowning fatalities never intended to go into the water and were often within 15 metres of safety,” the society adds. “Nearly every Canadian has known someone who has drowned or had a nonfatal drowning experience, whether personally or from his or her community.”
To help reduce drowning, all Canadians are encouraged to:
• Take the Lifesaving Society Swim to Survive Standard (teaches how to survive an unexpected fall into the water) and participate in a learn-to-swim program.
• Wear a properly fitted lifejacket when out on a boat.
• Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages while participating in aquatic activities.
• Ensure that children are under the direct supervision of an adult when around barrier-free bodies of water.