B.C. residents warned to be aware of risk of drowning

Drowning risk increases

With summer in full swing and more British Columbians enjoying water activities, residents are being reminded to be aware of the danger of drowning.

Drowning is the leading cause of death in B.C. for toddlers aged one to four, and 20 per cent of survivors of near-drowning sustain permanent brain damage. 

Dr. Ian Pike, director of the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at BC Children's Hospital, is asking locals to be water smart this summer. 

“Unfortunately drowning deaths are likely to occur when we’re seeing the nicest weather in our province," says Pike.

Drowning can happen quickly and quietly, but is preventable, says Trauma Services BC medical director Dr. David Evans.

“Drowning deaths are always devastating because they happen unexpectedly to healthy individuals, and small children are at risk."

In B.C. 92 per cent of drowning deaths among children and youth happen due to a lack of supervision. 

He encourages parents to be extra attentive when children are in or near the water, and says the best investment a parent can make is ensuring children learn how to swim.

Here are some ways you can keep yourself and your loved ones water smart this summer:

  • Don't leave inflatable pools or buckets of water around where children can access them.
  • Only allow children near or in water when they are well-supervised by responsible adults.
  • Enrol yourself and your child in swimming lessons.
  • Make sure everyone on a boat is wearing a lifejacket or an approved personal floatation device, as well as weaker swimmers who are playing near or in the water.
  • Refrain from using alcohol before or during swimming/boating activities. 

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