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Swimming Safety: Essential Tips for a Safe Summer in Ontario

Kid at pool

As the warm summer months approach, families across Ontario are opening their backyard pools, heading to cottage country, and spending time at one of Ontario’s many beaches. While swimming can be a fun and healthy activity, it also comes with inherent risks. At JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LL.P., we prioritize the safety and well-being of our community and want to ensure that everyone enjoys the water responsibly.

Here are some essential swimming safety tips to keep in mind this summer:

  1. Supervision is Key
According to the Lifesaving Society, 97% of water-related fatalities with children under the age of 5 years old occurred due to supervision being absent or distracted. On the other end of the spectrum, only 1% of all reported drownings in Ontario between 2016 and 2020 occurred in a lifeguard supervised setting. It is extremely important to never leave children unattended near water, even for a moment. Drowning can happen quickly and silently. Designate a responsible adult to watch the water whenever children are swimming. This person should avoid distractions like mobile phones, books, or conversations and focus solely on the swimmers.
  1. Learn to Swim
According to the Lifesaving Society, water-related fatalities in Ontario have been on the rise since 2011, with swimming accounting for the vast majority of water-related fatalities. Swimming lessons can significantly reduce the risk of drowning and can make a critical difference in an emergency. Many community centres and local pools in Ontario offer swimming lessons for all ages and skill levels.
  1. Install Barriers and Use Safety Devices
For those with backyard pools, installing barriers such as fences with self-closing, self-latching gates is crucial. In fact, for many communities in Ontario, such fencing has been made mandatory by way of local by-laws. Pool covers and alarms can provide an additional layer of protection too. Also ensure that life jackets are available and properly fitted for all swimmers, particularly young children and inexperienced swimmers. Over 84% of all water-based fatalities in Ontario over the last 10 years have been contributed to by not wearing a personal flotation device.
  1. Understand and Respect Water Conditions
Between 2016 and 2020, 48% of drownings in Ontario occurred at a lake or pond, with another 19% occurring in rivers. Before heading out to lakes, rivers, and beaches, it is very important to familiarize yourself with the water conditions. Pay attention to weather forecasts and heed any warnings or advisories. In natural water bodies, be aware of currents, tides, and underwater hazards such as rocks and vegetation. When at a beach, swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  1. Avoid Alcohol While Swimming
Between 2016 and 2020, alcohol-related drownings accounted for 36% of all water-related fatalities between the ages of 15 and 24, and 41% of all water-related fatalities between the ages of 35 and 64 in Ontario. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance, and coordination, thusly increasing the risk of accidents. Avoid consuming alcohol while swimming, boating, or supervising children in the water. Encourage safe and sober swimming practices among all adults in your group.
  1. Stay Hydrated and Protect Yourself from the Sun
Spending time in the water also means that you will most likely be spending lots of time out in the hot summer sun. As temperatures across Canada reach record highs, it is especially important to ensure everyone stays hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying waterproof sunscreen regularly (you can never have enough!), and by wearing protecting clothing, hats, and sunglasses.
  1. Stay Educated and Know How to Respond in an Emergency

Take preventative measures and be sure to educate your children about the dangers of water and the importance of swimming safety. Set clear rules, such as not swimming alone, avoiding rough play, and always following lifeguard instructions. However, even if you take all precautions, accidents can still happen. Be prepared by learning CPR and basic first aid. Many organizations, such as the Canadian Red Cross and the Lifesaving Society, offer CPR and first aid courses across Ontario.

If you or a loved one is injured in a swimming-related incident, it is essential to understand your legal rights. Property owners, pool operators, and other parties may be held liable if negligence or unsafe conditions contributed to the accident. Our experienced team at JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LLP is dedicated to securing the compensation you deserve and advocating for your rights. If you or someone you know has been injured in a water-related incident, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

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