'Drowning is silent and it's very fast': Water safety reminder as drownings continue in Ontario
KITCHENER -- More people are spending time around the water this week, but it is also the time of year where water tragedies are happening.
The Lifesaving Society confirmed to CTV News that there have been almost 50 drownings in Ontario so far this year.
The figure has them issuing a plea during National Drowning Prevention Week to give residents a safety refresher.
"Drowning is silent and it's very fast. When a person is drowning their air way is filling with water so you can't assume you’re going to hear them," says Barbara Byers, Public Education Director for the Lifesaving Society.
The Thrasher family often has fun in the backyard pool and they have always had safety precautions in place, like extra locks on the backdoor when the kids were young.
"Initially we thought of it as levels of security, so we put in locks in the inside of the house, up high, that had to have a key to unlock it," says Julie Thrasher.
She says that, even though they're aware of the risks, they've still had close calls even in the presence of multiple adults.
"When you're drowning they're not screaming, they're not yelling, they're very quiet about it because they're in panic mode," Thrasher explains.
The Thrashers have since installed a safety fence, which is easily removable by adults and equipped with a child lock.
“We always talk at the Lifesaving Society about layers of protection,” says Byers.
Ryan Cartmell, the president of Beechmount Pools in Kitchener, says personal flotation devices are the most popular safety gear, followed by poolside fencing.
“This is about five foot fencing and it's designed to go in, so kids can't, it's really hard to climb. They can't grab onto anything to climb it,” he explains.
“The other thing we do whenever we have kids come to the pool, we would have them swim, show us that they can swim two lengths,” says Thrasher.
The experts say having an adult nearby and teaching a child how to swim will always be the top levels of defense.
“Learning to swim is like an immunization, against drowning. It is not a sure thing but it can really increase the chances,” says Byers.
Precautionary measures that will help to keep a hot summer, cool and safe for everyone.