Do you know That on average 40 people drown ever hour in the world?
Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5? On average 370,000 people drown every year, 500 in Canada alone, making it the third leading cause of unintentional death. We, collectively need to work together to reduce or even eliminate this intolerable number of lives lost every year.
Drowning is preventable! The World Health Organization (WHO) has produced their first report dedicated solely to drowning and has identified 6 major causes that directly relate to drownings. These are lack of barriers, lack of adult supervision, unprotected water, lack of water safety awareness, travelling on the water and from flood disasters. More details can be found in the WHO GLobal Report on Drowning.
Immunization against Drowning
This is an exciting time in the world of organizations and individuals who are currently working in the drowning prevention field. The term, “Immunization against Drowning”, was coined in this first ever report from WHO, on the importance for the developed nations to establish a plan and act on the drowning numbers around the world. This call to action now has Canada’s first ever Canadian Drowning Prevention Coalition. We have formed a Canadian steering committee consisting of Civic, Government, NGO’s, Academics, Industry and Citizen Engagement groups to provide a multi-sectoral input and leadership to this effort.
To achieve zero drownings is a strong statement.
The Canadian Drowning Prevention Coalition has targeted 8 groups that are the leading numbers of drownings in Canada. These groups were targeted by fact based data mining to determine where our focus will be. These targeted groups are: New Canadians, children ages 1 to 4, unintentional water entry, young males, water transport, Indigenous people’s, Northern Canada and rural areas and drownings in supervised settings. Recruitment is underway for technical leaders for each of these areas and our progress report will be presented at the World Conference on Drowning Prevention this fall in Vancouver.
So what can you do to make a difference?
This is where public education comes to action. Have you ever been at the cottage and there was not enough proper fitting life jackets? Have you ever been at that pool party where there wasn’t a designated person watching the kids in the pool? These are tough decisions and vocalizing your concerns at a social settings that may make a fun social time a difficult conversation, as it may call that boat operator or pool owner look like they are ill prepared or have lack of responsibility to their guests.
Have you ever been in one of these situations? Did you speak out for someones safety?