Weather & recreational safety

Ontario’s doctors want to you to keep safe during the summer months. Use these tools and tips to protect yourself from the heat, sun and water.

Heat preparedness

Hot summer weather and extreme heat events (which are hot, humid days with warm nights) can put people at risk of suffering a heat illness. Heat illnesses include heat exhaustion, heat edema (swelling of hands and feet), heat rash, and the most serious, heat stroke. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and must be quickly attended to with medical care and cooling methods.

There are many ways to protect yourself and others from heat illnesses. The resources provide detailed information about heat illness, risk factors, and how to protect children and yourself from the heat, especially if you have been physically active through outdoor work or exercise, or if you are a senior. Talk to your doctor if you think you or your children are at greater risk of suffering a heat illness due to medications or a medical condition. 

Keep kids cool

When temperatures climb, protect your child from extreme heat. Young children and infants are especially vulnerable to heat illnesses during very hot weather. Learn how to keep keep kids cool through the hot summer months.

Beat the heat

Protect yourself when the weather gets hot. As an older adult, very hot weather can be dangerous to your health, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions. Learn how to beat the heat through the summer months.

Change your pace

When temperatures climb, protect yourself from extreme heat. If you exercise outdoors or do strenuous labour, you are especially vulnerable to heat illnesses during very hot weather. Learn how to change your pace and be safe and active through the hot summer months.

Sun safety

Ultraviolet (UV) exposure and sunburns are major contributors to skin cancer. Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers account for more diagnoses than lung, breast, and prostate cancer combined.

There are many things that you can do protect your child’s skin, and your own during summer:

  • have your child wear broad-brimmed hats or use sun umbrellas, and try to stay in the shade to avoid direct sun, especially in the middle of the day
  • dress your child in light, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts or long pants to protect their skin
  • apply sunscreen liberally and often

Skin cancer facts

Exposure to UV radiation is the biggest risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Over 7000 Canadians are diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer each year and it kills just over 1,000 Canadians every year. Exposure to UltraViolet (UV) radiation is the biggest risk factor for the development of skin cancer. UVA (the rays that cause aging) also cause cancer, not just UVB (the rays that cause sunburns). Some people worry about not getting enough vitamin D if they wear sunscreen or avoid the sun, but dermatologists say that Ontarians should gain vitamin D through food (like salmon, eggs, milk, or orange juice) or taking supplements — not from exposure to UV rays.

Kids and the sun

Childhood sun exposure is even more important than adult sun exposure in contributing to the development of skin cancer later in life. Learn about sunscreen and how to protect your child's skin during summer.

Water safety

When it comes to water safety, a few small changes can lead to a considerable reduction in the number of drowning deaths each year. Hundreds of Canadians lose their lives in drowning events annually. Despite efforts to improve water safety and awareness, Ontario continues to have the highest number of drowning deaths in the country.

Over the past 40 years, the OMA has been working to raise awareness of water safety in order to lower the incidence of these preventable deaths. The OMA has engaged in water safety education initiatives about drowning hazards from boating, falling through ice and backyard pool safety. A multi-pronged approach to drowning prevention includes survival skills, swimming lessons, adult supervision, the use of lifejackets, and four-sided pool barriers.

These six key recommendations focus on keeping children safe when they’re playing in or around water:
  1. Pool owners install four-sided pool fences to keep toddlers safe from the danger of falling in.
  2. Children playing near the water be supervised by an adult at all times.
  3. Children under five and older children who are not strong swimmers wear an approved life jacket whenever they are near the water.
  4. All children wear an approved life jacket when in a boat, canoe or other water craft.
  5. Learning to swim and survival skills swimming lessons are an essential part of drowning prevention and should be made mandatory for all children in Ontario.
  6. Parents should be trained in CPR and rescue breathing, especially if they live near the water or have a pool.