‘Sharp spike’ in drownings in Alberta renews calls for improved safety

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WATCH: It was a tragic weekend on the water in Alberta with a 10-year-old boy dying and two other children going missing near waterways. As Lauren Pullen reports, it’s renewing the push for water safety across the province – Jul 9, 2018

It was a tragic weekend on Alberta waterways and that has officials renewing calls for increased water safety.

A 10-year-old boy drowned in Elk Island National Park‘s Astotin Lake near Edmonton, a teen was swept away in the Oldman River in Lethbridge and the search is still on for a missing two-year-old who disappeared near Wapiti River in northwestern Alberta.

READ MORE: Search for teen swept into Oldman River now a recovery mission: Lethbridge deputy fire chief

“This is a sharp spike in a short space of time,” Mandy Fisher with the Lifesaving Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories said. “Our hearts go out to the families affected by this.”

But the sad reality is, it’s not that rare, according to Fisher.

“July, statistically, is the highest month for drownings across Canada,” Fisher said.

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READ MORE: Search continues for boy, 2, who went missing near northwestern Alberta river

Sunday is the start of drowning prevention week and the Lifesaving Society is reiterating simple water tips to keep Canadian’s safe.

“Drownings are preventable. They are a major public health issue,” Fisher said.

“Of course the number one thing that we cannot emphasize enough is to wear a lifejacket. Lifejackets save lives.”

Fisher also urges constant supervision of children and weak swimmers.

“It can only take a few seconds for a person to drown and drowning is often silent so a child can slip away and be in trouble before you know it.”

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