Summer is in full swing and cities around the country are experiencing intense heatwaves. The high temperatures and stifling humidity are making outdoor activities nearly unbearable. For some, the only way to cool down is to jump into a refreshing pool or lake. While swimming is a favorite pastime for many, it does come with some inherent dangers. Unsupervised kids and those without adequate swimming knowledge are at risk of drowning. In fact, this is one of the leading causes of death for toddlers. Despite increased awareness and restrictions, these threats continue.
In Ontario alone, there have been 43 drownings in 2019 so far. Sadly, there are hundreds of victims each year – a number of them young children. Unlike it’s portrayed in movies and TV, when someone is struggling to keep afloat, it’s often silent and difficult to detect. It can also happen very quickly and without warning. Unsupervised children can easily fall into an unfenced pool if no one is watching. Likewise, youngsters at a beach can go missing in the blink of an eye. It’s important to note that children – or indeed any person – can drown in even shallow water. One of the only surefire ways to prevent these accidents is to ensure anyone lacking in swimming skills is wearing a lifejacket. Even popular pool toys that float are no substitute for these devices, which have three points for fastening.
This is especially important when a nearby parent or babysitter cannot swim. Several guardians have been killed this summer trying to rescue others who were in danger.
In fact, most victims each year are adults. Even those who consider themselves strong swimmers have been caught in boating or car accidents. Faced with an unexpected scenario, many are understandably prone to panic. This can quickly lead to a fatality. Additionally, those relaxing on a sailboat or canoe may not consider themselves at any risk. However, authorities have found that most boat-related drownings could have been prevented if the passengers had been wearing a life jacket.
Even in backyard swimming pools, adults are not immune to danger. Those who own a pool should be particularly cautious as they must be responsible for all guests, as well as their own family. Some areas require in-ground pools to have a surrounding fence or pool cover when not in use. Devices such as pool alarms are also a helpful new tool. They are designed to sound a loud alarm, should anyone fall into the pool when it is not actively in use.
Consider that even during an Olympic swimming competition, with the world’s leading athletes, a number of lifeguards are on active duty. The reason for this is because a pool can be unpredictable. Even a cramp or small medical issue can endanger the best swimmers.
With much of the summer still left to enjoy, taking a few minutes to add safety gear before hitting the pool could save a life.