By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Although deaths by drowning have decreased in both Ontario and Canada over the past decade, the lessons that can prevent it are no less important.
July 15 to July 21 was National Drowning Prevention Week, and the City of Oshawa was doing its part to spread the message of water safety.
City employees were highly visible at local pools and beaches providing information.
However, these are not the only locations where there is a potential for tragedy, as drownings occur in private swimming pools, rivers, and even bathtubs every year.
The Lifesaving Society, a water safety and drowning prevention advocacy group, notes in its 2018 report that a high number of drownings involve victims who never intend to be in a body of water.
Examples include falling out of a boat, or while walking, playing, or running near water.
Not wearing a personal flotation device and alcohol are often significant factors in these types of incidents.
Warren Edwards, an employee with the City of Oshawa, was present at the Rotary Pool on Wednesday, July 18, sharing safety tips with local families.
Prior to speaking with The Oshawa Express, Edwards was talking with several children about the dangers of falling in icy water.
The kids were asked to put their hands in buckets filled with ice water, and remove them when they started to feel the effects.
Edwards was joined by Buddy the Lifeguard Dog, an official mascot of the Lifesaving Society.
Edwards says the majority of the children and parents he spoke with were very knowledgeable when it came to water safety.
“Everyone seems to know the safety features, especially when it comes to swimming by yourself, that they should have a buddy. Also, to wear a life jacket and not swim in the deep end if they feel they are not ready,” Edwards says.
While the age at which most children start to swim can vary profoundly, Edwards says it’s a conversation to be had as soon as possible.
“I can honestly say, it’s never too early to start talking to your child about water safety.”
The Lifesaving Society is also hosting a Water Smart contest through Sept. 2.
For more information, visit oshawa.ca/things-to-do/drowning-prevention-day.asp or lifesavingsociety.com