Drowning - Who is at Risk

Ontario has the highest number of drowning in Canada. The two age groups who are most at risk are children under 5 years of age and men 15-49 years. The sad thing about most drowning accidents is that they are preventable.

Children Under 5 Years

Among drowning victims under 5-year-olds the majority are 2 to 4-year-olds. With toddlers being adventurous, mobile, and often imitate others (especially their parents). They are not aware of the consequences of their actions or the dangers of water. Toddlers love to play in and around water and this is the time they are most at risk.

Pools in the backyard account for one-third of water-related deaths for young children under 5 years old. Since toddlers are unaware of the risks of being around water, it is up to parents and caregivers to keep them safe. The lack of supervising while children are in or around water is the biggest risk factor. The Canadian Drowning Report outlines that almost all of these young victims were unsupervised when they went under the water.

Common misconception is that child drownings only occur with “completely negligent” parents who leave their children alone for hours at a time. However, the it only takes a moment for a drowning to occur. A temporary lapse in supervision of a child can be fatal around water.

Men – 15 to 49

Men within this age group are often more willing to take risks and being around the water is no different. Swimming in open water is the leading activity attributed to fatalities among this age group, closely followed by boating activities (power-boating, rowing, canoeing, etc).

Risk factors with this demographic include:

• Almost half of fatal drowning incidents involved alcohol
• More than half of victims in this demographic were alone when their fatal incident occurred
• Being out after dark
• Being out in cold water conditions

Here is a news article from the July holiday weekend in which 5 drowned

City News Article – July Long Weekend

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