What are the top five drowning risks for Canadians?

Topics: National, Water Safety
November 28, 2012

What are the top five drowning risks for Canadians?

Swimming is a great activity that can be enjoyed year-round and can offer families the opportunity to stay active, build valuable skills and create memories that will last for decades to come.

For more than 65 years, the Canadian Red Cross has led the country in water safety programs that offer a dynamic blend of hands-on experience and leadership development that can transform the way you and others approach swimming.

Despite the benefits of spending time in the water, there are also dangers - particularly for drowning. With help from the Canadian Red Cross, you can better understand the top five risks for drowning and learn how to prevent them.

1. Lack of swimming abilities. Those who lack confidence in the water, or who have not been trained how to swim, are at increased risk for drowning, as are those who are non-swimmers lingering near the surface of water. However, strong swimmers can be equally susceptible to drowning, especially if they underestimate the strength of a current.

2. Not wearing a lifejacket. Lifejackets provide an essential layer of support for adults and children in the water, yet, for some these devices appear cumbersome, leading to a lack of use. According to a recent poll conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross, one in four Canadians claim they don't wear lifejackets because they know how to swim, while one in five claim that they avoid wearing lifejackets because they are uncomfortable. This is a dangerous precedent that can have disastrous consequences

3. Unsecured pool areas. If you have children and a pool in your home, you can take precautions against the threat of drowning in a number of ways, including closely monitoring aquatic activities and installing safety features. Approximately 36 per cent of Canadians claimed that they used four-sided fencing to keep children from entering pools unattended, while 33 per cent added a self-closing gate to keep curious youngsters out of the water.

4. Being under the influence. Drugs and alcohol can be dangerous at any time. Moreover, for those who are in the water, the harmful effects that these substances yield can significantly increase the risk for drowning.

5. Swimming alone. No matter what time of day it may be or the climate, swimming by yourself is a bad decision that can leave you isolated in the event of an incident. By entering the water with a friend or a group, you can ensure that you have the support in case you encounter problems.

If you want to prevent emergencies from happening and gain invaluable experience in the process, you should consider signing up for swimming lessons with the Canadian Red Cross. Available for Canadians of all ages, these courses can help you build confidence and poise in the water - both of which are crucial in reducing the risk for drowning.

To learn more, please visit us online or contact your local Canadian Red Cross office today. 

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