Office of the Chief Coroner releases its 2010 Drowning Death Review
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Dr. Andrew McCallum, Chief Coroner for Ontario, today announced the results of the Office of the Chief Coroner's review of the drowning deaths that occurred in the months of May, June, July, August and September 2010. The purpose of this review was to identify common factors that may have played a role in the deaths and if necessary, make recommendations to prevent similar deaths. Led by Dr. Bert Lauwers, Deputy Chief Coroner for Investigations, the Review Team examined 89 accidental drowning deaths. Highlights of the report include:
- There was a 260% increase in drowning deaths in children less than 5 years of age. 13 of the 89 (15%) deaths in this review were in children less than 5 years of age.
- Drowning is largely a male-related phenomenon. 76 of 89 (85%) deaths were male.
- 71 of 89 (80%) of the deaths occurred in persons aged less than 5 and between 15-64 years of age.
- 55 of 66 (83%) of the deaths related to swimming occurred when the air temperature was higher than 21 degrees Celsius.
- 22 of 23 (96%) of those operating power boats and unpowered boats that drowned were not wearing life jackets or personal flotation devices.
- Alcohol was a contributing factor in 39 of 58 (67%) of the drowning deaths between 15-64 years of age. Overall, 39 of 89 (44%) of drowning deaths were alcohol related.In 2010, for those in whom the swimming status was known, 24 of 60 (40%) were non-swimmers.
- 20 of 59 (34%) of the drowning victims for whom their heritage was known were not born in Canada.