Not any more

Two more children pulled from pools as drowning numbers climb

In Canada on August 3, 2010 at 08:45

Two Toronto area children were pulled from backyard pools Monday, as the number of drownings and near-drownings in Ontario so far this summer continued to climb.

A 4-year-old Mississauga boy remained in critical condition at a Toronto hospital Monday night, hours after being pulled unconscious from a backyard pool where he was attending a church gathering, according to Peel Regional Police.

The same afternoon a 2-year-old girl was pulled from a backyard pool in Etobicoke. She was taken to hospital but didn’t sustain any serious injuries, according to Toronto police.

Seven toddlers have drowned in Ontario so far this year, up from only one the year before, said Barbara Byers, a spokeswoman for the Lifesaving Society.

“This has been an usual year,” she said. “All I can surmise is it’s the weather, because it’s been such a hot summer.”

Also over the holiday weekend a 2-year-old boy drowned in a backyard swimming pool in Amherstburg, Ont., near Windsor on Friday. Another 2-year-old boy drowned at a private daycare on Wednesday in Ottawa.

A bylaw that requires that new construction pools be fenced on four sides put Toronto ahead of the pool safety bell curve, but young children in particular can be hard to protect.

“To fear and respect the water is really a learned trait, so once toddlers can start walking and are able to take off they are very drawn to the water,” said Ms. Byers. “….Drowning is very silent and you’re not going to here splashing and waves and, ‘Help me I’m drowning.’”

In most cases, backyard pools are contained on three sides by a fence, and the wall of a home lines the fourth side. This makes it easier for children to slip past a parent or guardian and into the pool area unsupervised.

Ms. Byers recommends putting all non-swimmers in life jackets, and said pool covers and alarms can also be helpful.

Adults are vulnerable too, and a 76-year-old Toronto woman died late Monday after she was found in the pool in the backyard of her home. Toronto police said her cause of death was not yet certain, but that foul play wasn’t suspected.

Last month the province’s chief coroner ordered a review of all drownings in Ontario this summer.



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