Help prevent children from drowning

Two recent pool-related toddler fatalities are a sobering reminder that there are risks around pools.

  • Jul. 12, 2012 8:00 p.m.

Two recent pool-related toddler fatalities are a sobering reminder that with the warm weather, the risks around pools in public places and backyards increases.

The BC Coroners Service strongly urges everyone to be extra-vigilant in keeping their kids safe around water.

BC Coroners Service statistics show that close to 30 per cent of pool-related fatalities involved preschool-aged children (ages one to four). All preschooler pool deaths occurred in residential pools (backyard or townhouse/apartment complexes). All preschool pool deaths also occurred in the Metro and Fraser regions.

Reduce the risk of children drowning in pools:

• Actively supervise. Active supervision means staying “within reach or sight of your child at all times.” Closely supervise children when swimming, bathing or playing around water — even those who can swim.

• Create barriers. If you have a backyard pool, ensure it is fenced on all four sides with a self-closing, self-latching gate. When not using your pool, clear all toys out of the water and away from the edge, so they cannot tempt children  to the water’s edge.

• Get trained. Get trained through swimming and water safety lessons. Contact your local community centre for child and adult swimming lessons.

For further information, visit BC Swimming Pool Deaths 2006-2012 (YTD) statistics at http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/coroners/publications/docs/swimming-pool-deaths.pdf or Child Death Review Unit — Report on Drowning: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/coroners/child-death-review/docs/report-drowning2007.pdf.

Other tips are available from the Canadian Red Cross at www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=18499&tid=024.