TORONTO, May 19 /CNW/ - Heading into the first long weekend of the season, Ontario's doctors are raising awareness about the importance of water safety and that swimming lessons are an essential part of drowning prevention.  Approximately 50 per cent of Canadian children never take swimming lessons.

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of four. Ontario's doctors have recommended six key steps that can be taken to help protect children from drowning.  Specifically:

  • All children should take swimming lessons;
  • Children playing near the water should be supervised by an adult at all times;
  • Children under 5, and older children who are not strong swimmers should wear a life jacket when around water;
  • All children should wear a life jacket in a boat, canoe or other water craft;
  • Pool owners, especially those with young children or grandchildren should install a 4-sided pool fence, which prevents access to the pool from the home; and
  • Parents should be trained in CPR and rescue breathing, especially if they live near the water or have a pool.


"Before summer starts, we want parents and caregivers to be aware of a few simple precautions that can keep kids safe around the water. Basic precautions like swimming lessons, life jackets and close adult supervision can save many lives."
Stewart Kennedy, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association

"Drowning deaths are preventable. Ontario's doctors hope that by following these simple recommendations, the tragedy of a child's drowning can be prevented."
Stewart Kennedy, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association

Quick Facts

  • Every year, on average 58 children (under 14) drown, and another 140 are hospitalized for near drowning in Canada; and
  • Nearly half of child drowning deaths happen in backyard pools.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information:

OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862
www.oma.org   @OntariosDoctors

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