That's why he is reminding all Ontarians to be safe around water. This reminder is prompted by more than a dozen drowning deaths so far this month throughout the province.
While drowning deaths of children under the age of five have dropped significantly in recent years - from 13 in 2010 to just three in 2011 - alcohol remains a prevalent risk factor in many drowning deaths, according to a news release.
In June 2011, the Office of the Chief Coroner released a report on accidental drowning deaths following a review of deaths that occurred between May and September 2010. Led by Dr. Bert Lauwers, Deputy Chief Coroner - Inquests, the review revealed some startling statistics about alcohol and drowning deaths, as well as the use of life-jackets.
The report pointed to four key recommendations for individuals:
-Learn to swim - swimming is a basic life skill that everyone should be taught regardless of age.
-Wear a life-jacket or a personal flotation device - even if you are a strong swimmer, as fatigue can set in very quickly.
-Adults should closely supervise children at all times around water. Children can drown quickly and quietly.
-Alcohol should be avoided when swimming or boating.
“The results of this review reiterate the need for greater awareness of the hazards of water and the measures that can prevent these deaths,” McCallum said in the press release. “Learning to swim, avoiding alcohol while swimming and boating, wearing a life-jacket and closely supervising children can save lives.”
Alcohol was a contributing factor in 67 per cent of the drowning deaths studied between 15-64 years of age. Overall, 44 per cent of drowning deaths were alcohol related.
Eight-five per cent of the drowning deaths reviewed were male, and 83 per cent of the deaths related to swimming occurred when the air temperature was higher than 21 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, 96 per cent of those operating boats who drowned were not wearing life-jackets or personal flotation devices.
Posted by Arron Pickard