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Write On! by Lucille NolascoPrevent drowning, save our loved ones

by Lucille Nolasco

The weather is anticipated to get warmer, and that means many people are eagerly planning their travels and outdoor activities.

Among the favourite warm weather activities are going for a long drive, camping and swimming. The latter in particular, is a sure hit with children and young people who love to frolic and play in the water.

But did you know that drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for Canadian children and youth up to the age of 19 years, and the fourth leading cause of injury death for all ages, according to data from Manitoba Health.

Statistics from the 2018 Manitoba Drowning Report shows that 100 per cent of the time, little children were left unsupervised or the adults supervising them were distracted; while young and older adults were either not wearing life jackets, had consumed alcohol or were swimming alone.

Still, according to the 2018 Manitoba Drowning Report, 81 per cent of those who drowned were male, while 19 percent were female. Drownings recorded occurred in lakes and ponds, rivers and ditches. And 73 per cent of drownings occurred during the months of May to September.

Life is precious. And as with most tragedies, the best prevention is being informed, getting proper information and training.

The Lifesaving Society of Manitoba has been saving lives for over 100 years through their training programs, Water Smart public education and drowning prevention. They also train all of Manitoba’s National Lifeguards.

Last year, the Lifesaving Society – Manitoba Branch has partnered with radio stations around the province, including CKJS 810 Winnipeg, to share drowning prevention and public safety messages to all Manitobans. Important messages were delivered in English, French, Cree, Ojibway, Tagalog, and Punjabi.

Most recently, the Lifesaving Society is assisting the World Health Organization (WHO) to spread awareness in Canada of the first ever Global Report on Drowning; Preventing a Leading Killer. The report pinpoints drowning as a major public health issue and calls on the world’s nations to ramp up drowning prevention measures.

Drowning is preventable. Let us protect our loved ones and ourselves.

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