Be water wary
With the recent hot weather it's only natural people want to beat the heat by enjoying a swim in a pool, a day at the beach or a casual canoe ride along a local river. But in our haste to cool off, we often don't consider the dangers that water presents. National Drowning Prevention Week began Sunday (July 16) and the Lifesaving Society urges Canadians to ensure their safety and the safety of others on, in, or near the water. Fact: drowning remains the third leading cause of accidental death among Canadians under 60 years of age. In the past few weeks we in Halton have had local reminders just how dangerous water-- any water-- can be. On Saturday an Etobicoke man drowned while swimming in Fairy Lake in Acton-- ignoring the posted warning signs that the beach was closed and swimming wasn't permitted. It was the second time in four years the lake and its weedy bottom claimed a life. Two weeks ago an 83-year-old Burlington woman accidentally tumbled into a swimming pool while gardening. While there was a cover on the pool, there was also several feet of standing water on top of the cover and the elderly woman became entrapped in the cover. Her 65-year-old daughter was unable to save her. Neither woman could swim. And then there are the hazards that boating presents. Boating activities represent more than 30 per cent of all drowning deaths. In fact, more than 60 per cent of all drowning deaths in Canada occur during recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, or boating. "Canadians must be mindful of these statistics as they take part in summer water activities," says Rick Haga, executive director of the Lifesaving Society, a charitable organization dedicated to the prevention of drowning deaths and water-related injuries in Canada. But, as Haga points out, what is most disturbing is that "the majority of the time, these deaths can be avoided."