Manitoba has high drowning death rate for children under 5: Livesaving Society

Lorne Edwards thinks the message is simple: keep kids within arms reach.

Edwards, the media coordinator for the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba, said keep children close, and wearing a lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD), could save a life.

“We certainly wish it was required by law for you to wear it,” he said of PFD’s that are currently only required by law to be in the boat, not on your body.

Read more: Deceptively calm rivers present hidden dangers: Lifesaving Society Manitoba

The Lifesaving Society released its Manitoba 2020 Drowning Report, showing grim statistics surrounding personal safety.

“Unfortunately Manitoba has one of the highest percentages compared to any of the other provinces of children drowning,” said Edwards.

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He adds, after looking at medical examiners report and information provided after the drowning shows for a high percentage of the 13 per cent of deaths, there was no parental supervision.

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“Keeping kids within arms reach,” Edwards said. “It can happen so fast.”

The report shows 70 per cent of drownings occur from May to September, with men making up 78 per cent of deaths.

Among the reasons why people died in the water, the report shows 75 per cent of people aged 15-64 were not wearing a PFD.

Read more: Manitoba man drowns while fishing on Lake of the Woods: RCMP

For young adults between 15-34 years old, 59 per cent of deaths included alcohol consumption. That statistic jumps to 68 per cent for adults aged 35-64 years old.

Edwards said drowning is preventable, and there are many layers of protection.

“Think ahead of time,” Edwards said. “Everyone wants to come home from the lake after the weekend without having suffered a tragedy that would change their lives forever.”

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