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Stay safe in the water this Canada Day weekend

Toronto, June 27, 2013

Stay safe
Photo: Stephen McKay/Wikimedia

Most diving accidents are preventable and often associated with alcohol. Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital who treats victims of diving accidents, says too many people are not aware of the risks of diving into a lake or a pool when the depth is unknown or diving when they have been drinking.

Before diving in unfamiliar pools, lakes or rivers, people should check to make sure the water is deep enough and whether there are rocks, tree trunks or other submerged objects, he says. The depth of the water should be at least twice the height of the diver and a minimum of nine feet.

“Know the water and the underlying risks such as rocks,” he said. “Always go into the water feet first the first time, not head first. And whatever you are doing on or near the water, remember that alcohol use and fun on the water shouldn’t be mixed.”

Other safety points to remember when enjoying the water:

  • Make sure there is enough light to see what you are doing
  • No pushing
  • Always do water sports with a companion and never leave children alone
  • Learn to dive safely
  • Never dive into the shallow end of the pool
  • Never dive into unfamiliar bodies of water
  • Dive only in well-marked and well-supervised environments that are designated for diving
  • Never dive into an above-ground pool – they are not designed for diving.
  • Never run and dive
  • Never dive from retaining walls, ladders, slides or other pool equipment.
  • When diving from a diving board, always dive from the end and not the sides
  • Never dive through objects such as inner tubes
  • Do not go down slides head first
  • Never drink alcohol and dive or swim

About St. Michael’s Hospital

St Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.