Toddlers in Quebec, B.C. drown in private pools
Published Monday, July 9, 2012 10:30AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 9, 2012 9:27PM EDT
Several recent incidents involving recreational pools, including the drowning deaths of toddlers in Quebec and British Columbia, are highlighting the need for careful monitoring of such facilities.
An 18-month-old toddler was found unconscious in her family's Laval, Quebec backyard pool Sunday afternoon.
Efforts to revive the child failed, and she was pronounced dead at hospital two hours later.
The tragedy brought to 41 the number of drowning deaths in the province so far this year, including two other children who lost their lives in pools in Laval and Kirkland last week.
The circumstances are sadly common across the country, as seen in a Sunday evening incident in Surrey, B.C.
A 20-month-old infant and his grandmother were pulled from an apartment complex pool at approximately 9 p.m. Sunday. The toddler reportedly fell in the water and his grandmother, who couldn’t swim, jumped in to save him.
They were administered CPR on the pool deck before being rushed to hospital in grave condition. The child did not respond to efforts to revive him and he later died.
As of Monday morning, the woman was said to be in critical condition.
Reporting from Vancouver, CTV News' Brent Shearer said police do not suspect foul play. Investigators believe “the two may have been floating in the unsupervised pool for an extended period of time," he said.
Also in Surrey, a child was reportedly pulled from a pool at a private residence on Monday and taken to hospital. The child’s condition was not immediately known.
Experts recommend completely surrounding private recreational pools with a fence that includes an automatic self-closing gate. In the interests of keeping unsupervised pools as safe as possible, owners can also keep personal flotation devices nearby, add a cover when the pool's not in use, and even install an alarm to warn passersby.
Adults are also advised to undergo training in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
No matter the extent of such precautions, however, drowning incidents can go unnoticed if not seen directly.
That was likely the case in the death of the 20-month-old boy in Surrey, Shearer told CTV News Channel Monday.
"It doesn't look like (the pool) is in a high traffic area, despite being in the centre of the complex," he said.
There's no lifeguard on duty and no signs are clearly posted, so it's one of those "swim-at-your-own-risk."
The number of drowning deaths in Quebec, already 12 more than the entire toll in 2011, has prompted the education minister to call for swimming lessons for all the province's elementary school students starting in September.
According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death in children and youth.
In Canada, where Safe Kids Canada says drowning is the second leading cause of injury related death among children, an average of 60 people aged 14 and younger drown each year.