Lifesaving Society Concerned About Drowning During Hot and Humid Summer Weather

National Drowning Prevention Week, July 21-29, 2012

TORONTO, July 18, 2012 /CNW/ - At the mid-summer mark, the Lifesaving Society reports that 54 people have drowned in Ontario this year. During the summer of 2012, the number of people who have drowned while swimming is 17 versus 11 last year, and 24 have drowned after falling into the water in 2012 versus 19 in last year. With the forecast calling for more hot and humid weather, the Society encourages all Ontarians to practice safe behaviours on and around water, and for parents to be their child's lifeguard anywhere near water.

"Most drownings are preventable," says Barbara Byers, Public Education Director with the Lifesaving Society. "Drowning is silent and can happen in seconds. It is important for parents to watch their children closely when they are in the water as the transition from swimming to drowning can happen quickly."

Byers urges parents to be extra vigilant as families gather around their pools and cottages, and frequent local campsites and beaches.

The Lifesaving Society is encouraged to report that so far in 2012 there have been fewer drownings among boaters (10 versus 15 for the same date in 2011).

This year the Lifesaving Society partnered with the Canadian Safe Boating Council to produce a poster campaign encouraging the use of inflatable lifejackets. The poster, depicting a fire alarm, is displayed in malls across the province. Over 80% of drowning victims are men and the Society hopes that women everywhere will help influence men to wear a lifejacket. Year after year 80% of boaters who drown are found not wearing a lifejacket. The Society believes that 100 lives in Canada could be saved each year if boaters wore lifejackets.

With National Drowning Prevention Week from July 21-29, the Lifesaving Society has these important water safety messages:

Choose it. Use it.

Always ensure that lifejackets fit properly and are in good working condition. All buckles and zippers should be functioning and intact. Everyone should wear lifejackets while boating and anyone who cannot swim should wear a lifejacket while swimming.

If you are not within arms' reach, you've gone too far.

Children near pools and waterfronts should never be left alone. If children are at the water's edge a responsible guardian needs to be with them. It only takes only a second for the unthinkable to happen. While you turn your back to reach for a snack out of your cooler, your child could be gone forever. Assign an adult to supervise children whenever they are near or in the water and always be vigilant. Put lifejackets on young toddlers when they are near the water.

Learn how to Swim to Survive

Swimming is an essential life skill and all Canadians should be able to Swim to Survive. Given the increase in deaths following an unexpected fall into deep water, it is crucial that people safeguard themselves from drowning. The Lifesaving Society's Swim to Survive standard is: ROLL into deep water - TREAD water for 60 seconds - SWIM 50 metres. This is the minimum standard necessary to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. Swim to Survive lessons are offered throughout the province.

The Lifesaving Society is offering free Swim to Survive lessons in four locations in the City of Toronto for the month of July. Lessons are offered for children and parents at Carlton Village PS, Central Technical School, Downsview SS and RH King Academy. Details can be found at

Lifesaving Society: Total Drownings between Jan 1 and July 17


  2011 2012
CHILDREN 0-4 1 3
CHILDREN 5-12 3 3
TEENS 13-17 3 0
ADULTS 18-34 16 20
ADULTS 35-44 8 7
OLDER ADULTS 45+ 17 19
MALES 43 49
11 17
(near or on water and fell in)
19 24
(boat or other watercraft)
15 10
(car, aircraft, snowmobile, ATV)
7 3

About the Lifesaving Society
The Lifesaving Society is a full-service provider of programs, products and services designed to prevent drowning. We save lives and prevent water-related injury through our training programs, Water Smart® public education, drowning prevention research, aquatic safety management and lifesaving sport. Each year, more than 800,000 Canadians participate in the Society's swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard, first aid and leadership programs. For more information, please visit


SOURCE Lifesaving Society

For further information:

To schedule an interview, or for more information, please contact: 
Barbara Byers -
The Lifesaving Society: 416-490-8844 (bus.) 416-727-5636 (cell)

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