We all get the message don’t drink and drive –don’t be a menace on the road. Often ignored are other risks we take when drinking alcohol.
Accidental drowning remains the third highest cause of accidental death in Canadians under the age of 60 years. Half of all drowning occur during the summer months and most are considered preventable.
Among toddlers under 5, drowning is only exceeded by automobile accidents as a leading cause of death – an age at which they are still in need of parental care and control – even when families are at parties, and drinking alcohol. Significantly, most people who drown did not intend to get into the water, and their immersion is both unexpected and frightening to them. Panic inhibits rational response – and some people cannot swim. Particularly in Canada, water can be cold. Cold water can bring on hypothermia, and an inability to swim quite rapidly. Taking care when exposed to areas of deep water is necessary at all times, whether or not alcohol drinking is involved. A combination of alcohol and cold water can be lethal even to an experienced swimmer, especially when wearing heavy clothing
The intoxicant effects of alcohol are well documented regards drunk driving, the mind and body are in much the same state when we drink at a party and think it is safe to dive into the swimming pool. Judgment is impaired for any activity that involves the exercise of skill and precision. Typically, young men are over represented in drowning, and near drowning that involve tomfoolery and bravado after alcohol drinking, with 83% of drowning accidents occurring to males, according to statistics from the Lifesaving Society, of Ontario, alcohol is involved in around one third of the incidents.
55% of all drowning victims are between 18 and 50. There is also the real risk of permanent injury when people go drinking and diving, from springboards and off rocks.
Don’t drink and drown while trying to operate a boat, under the influence of alcohol. The sea can be more unpredictable than any highway or road, and many who take out their boat for pleasure are relatively inexperienced when it comes to judging the weather, and its possible effects upon the tides. Drinking alcohol can create its own problems, and also contribute to making an emergency situation worse. Around 60% of drowning victims, are involved in recreational activities at the time, and alcohol is involved in nearly 40% of boating accidents that involve a drowning.
Sobering statistics indeed, to take into account when we consider whether or not to mix alcohol and water, in our social activities. People drinking alcohol with children in their care, need to be more vigilant when in the vicinity of water. Never assume that a child is safe – keeping them in your sight needs to take priority when you are trying to relax and drinking
The Lifesaving Society recommends not to mix boating and alcohol drinking, ensure that life jackets are worn at all times or at hand for emergencies, and keep up to date with boating skills and navigational information. Taking out people in a boat calls for skill and responsibility, especially when young children are on board.
Take care when drinking alcohol, when there is a risk of getting yourself into deep water. People don’t drink and drown with a little foresight and care.