Lifeguards Save Lives
Drowning is a leading cause of death worldwide for children. A silent death – children often drown while adults are present but don’t see the crisis. Recent footage from a world swimming competition of an athlete passing out and sinking to the bottom of the pool should be an example that anyone can suffer a medical crisis and drown while in the water. In outdoor settings, there are many more dangers than in a pool including currents and underwater hazards like rocks and logs.
Swimming and going to the beach are very popular summer activities in Ontario. We look forward to the water and the sun for much of the year and when the heat arrives, we flock to rivers, beaches and pools in large numbers. Public pools require lifeguards by law, but private pools and beaches and rivers can remain unguarded.
In Ontario, 66% of drowning deaths happen in lakes and rivers. Many of these deaths occur at established beaches and swimming areas which don’t have lifeguards attending them. A recent drowning at Chutes Provincial Park which also saw a drowning death in 2018 reminds us of the dangers of water. The Lifesaving Society found that between 2008 – 2017 there were 52 drowning deaths in Provincial Parks and only 1 of those who drowned was a female.
The Lifesaving Society researches and reports on drownings and preventable water-related deaths since 1989 to prevent drowning deaths. Their data show that the safest places to swim are those with lifeguards on duty. Some provincial parks often loan out PFDs in parks but this program is only in 20% of the parks and places the onus on the individual to seek out and use the program. Almost 91% of all drownings in Canada occur in natural bodies of water.
Wearing a PFD is the safest way to swim at an unguarded beach, particularly if you are not a strong swimmer, however, many swimmers resist wearing them because they are uncomfortable, they impede swimming quickly, or individuals are afraid of what other people think.
According to the Life Saving Society, there are steps you can take to remain safer while swimming.
Basic water safety skills are essential. Swimming pools, lakes and rivers offer year-round fun if they are enjoyed safely. But every year about 160 people drown in Ontario. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children under five years old, and statistics show that children under 12, boaters, young men and seniors 65+ are at greatest risk.
Drowning is fast and silent, but every drowning death is preventable with water safety knowledge and common sense.
Important water safety tips for everyone:
- Learn to swim
- Always swim with a buddy
- Children and non-swimmers should always be supervised around water
- Wear a lifejacket whenever you are in a boat
- Alcohol and water don't mix: don't drink and swim, don't drink and drive your boat
If you or a loved one has been injured in a drowning accident, or you have lost a loved one who drowned due to someone else’s negligence you should contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today at Deutschmann Personal Injury and Disability Law today at 1.866.313.4878