Weather & recreational safety

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 linked on this page 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.These fact sheets below can be downloaded and printed – take a look and keep them handy around the house.  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.

Together, we can all beat the heat over the summer months.

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. This fact sheet provides information about how to keep children healthy through the hot summer months.

Download a factsheet on how to keep kids cool.

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. This fact sheet provides information about how to stay healthy through the summer months.

Download a factsheet on how to beat the heat.

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. This fact sheet provides information about how you can be safe and active through the hot summer months.

Download a fact sheet on how to change your pace.

Sun safety

Be sun safe this summer. 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, this summer.

First, 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. Second, dress your child in light, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts or long pants to protect their skin. Third, remember to apply sunscreen liberally and often!

Exposure to UV radiation is the biggest risk factor for the development of skin cancer. We now know that 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.

Ontario’s doctors want to remind people about the importance of protecting your skin. Since sunscreen information can be confusing, a downloadable fact-sheet about sunscreen protection and SPF is available by clicking the link below. Whether you’re taking your family for a hike or spending the day at the beach, sunscreen is a crucial part of every family’s sun protection plan.

Skin cancer facts

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. We now know that 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. This fact sheet provides information and tips on how to protect your child’s skin (and your own) this summer.

Download a factsheet on sunscreen.

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. To date, the OMA has engaged in a number of water safety education initiatives which cover the range of drowning hazards from boating, to falling through ice, to backyard pool safety.

OMA has six key recommendations, which focus on keeping children safe when they’re playing in or around water. These include:

  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 5 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.

A multi-pronged approach to drowning prevention that includes survival skills, swimming lessons, adult supervision, the use of lifejackets, and four-sided pool barriers is recommended by the OMA and other experts in the field.

The OMA hopes that we can all work together to keep Ontario’s children safe in and around the water.