Public pools have the least drowning risk, while
backyard pools and boating have the highest risk for
children under 5 and males aged 15 to 44, respectively.
Those are just a few of the findings from a 10-year
study recently released by the Canadian Red Cross. Titled
?Drownings and other water-related injuries in
Canada,? the study reveals that 27 percent of pool
drownings occurred in public settings, whether at municipal
pools, hotels or apartments. Using data from
coroners? reports from 1991 to 2000, researchers
identified drowning risk factors across Canada, and which
prevention programs were the most effective.
?One of the nice things in Canada is that all
the coroners? offices work from the same forms
? enabling us to collect data in a uniform
way,? said Michele Mercier, national manager of
swimming and water safety programs at the Canadian Red
Cross in Montreal. With the compiled coroners?
reports, the Red Cross was able to note trends over a
10-year period, rather than rely on a fluke from a single
The study examines risk factors age, gender,
alcohol use and swimming ability in regard to
different activities such as boating, type of swimming
pool, open-water, bathtubs and cold-water immersion.
It found that 25 percent of water-related deaths were
from aquatic activities, compared with 39 percent from
boating accidents and 23 percent from falling into water
without intention of swimming. The study also breaks down
swimming ability by age and whether the individuals were
accompanied by someone else.
Mercier said other nations, such as Iceland and Norway,
are interested in the results.
The data is transferable to the USA, she said.
?Lack of parental supervision will more likely lead
to a child drowning or near-drowning. [Lifeguard] training
programs are pretty similar. There are definitely some