A Brampton bystander was hailed a hero last week after pulling a 2 year old girl from a pond and saving her life. The girl was floating face down when a bystander took quick action and waded into the muddy water at Chinguacousy Park to grab the girl by her jeans. The girl started coughing and spitting up water and though the bystander knew CPR, thankfully she did not need to use it.
It just takes a second to lose sight of a toddler who can easily wander off into a dangerous situation. Drowning is very quick and often silent. Children should be actively supervised at all times, but parents and babysitters can lose sight of a child when distracted by a number of things, including tending to other children. All adults in the community can be that extra set of eyes that help keep our children safe and free from harm.
According to the Canadian Red Cross, the vast majority of water-related deaths involving young children had an absence of effective adult supervision. Children are naturally curious around water. They can enter a body of water to play or fall unexpectedly into water. Every year, dozens of fatalities result from unexpected falls at waterfronts and pools. The Red Cross says that 21% of fatalities involved children aged one to four years. Whether in a pool, bathtub, or the beach, children should always be actively supervised around water – even if they can swim. A small child can disappear in seconds and drown in only a few centimetres of water – just enough water to cover their nose.
What can people do to keep children safe around water?
• Supervise children in, on and around water at all times.
• Designate one adult swimmer to watch children in water at all times.
• Be within arm’s reach of a young children in and around water.
• Avoid distractions and alcohol while engaging in activities around the water.
• Learn water safety skills and how to swim.
• Learn bystander CPR.
• Keep areas around backyard pools and decks free of toys and other tripping hazards.
• Ensure children wear a lifejacket or PFD while boating.
• Enroll children from a young age in swimming lessons.
• Ensure home pools meet municipal requirements for fencing and self-closing and self-latching gates.
Strong and safe communities, like Brampton, are filled with attentive people who help and watch out for one another. Together we can help our children and our neighbours live long and happy lives.