For many Canadian families, summer includes activities such as boating and swimming.

But each year, tragic and avoidable water-related fatalities occur across Canada. A Canadian Red Cross report examining these fatalities over 10 years revealed many common factors:

  • Young children ages 1 to 4 and men ages 15 to 44 are at the greatest risk of drowning.

  • Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional death for Canadian children ages one to four.

  • A small child can disappear in seconds and can drown in only a few centimetres of water—enough to cover the mouth and nose. Typically these drownings occur in backyard pools, toddler pools, the bathtub, or at the beach.

  • Small children are also the most vulnerable group for near drownings. For every death, there are an estimated four to ve additional near-drowning incidents, which require hospitalization and often result in varying degrees of brain damage.

  • Infants and toddlers drowned mainly in bathtubs and pools, whereas older children and youth drowned mainly in large bodies of water.

  • Other factors for adults in water-related fatalities included current and alcohol consumption.