Pool and water safety is always a big concern among parents. Despite numerous water safety promotion campaigns, the number of drownings per year in the province of Quebec has remained realtively unchanged. Hopefully you will find the following article useful, and make your environment even safer by taking a CPR course.

Having you ever wondered 'Would enrolling my 3-year-old son in swimming lessons protect him from drowning'? 

Many young children love being in and around water, whether it’s at the local pool or on a beach. But without proper safety measures, water can be dangerous for young children. Drowning is one of the most frequent causes of death among children 1 to 9 years of age and is the leading cause of death in boys between the ages of 1 and 4. Babies and toddlers drown most often at home, in bathtubs and swimming pools. To prevent drowning in a tub, parents should never leave young children unsupervised during bath time. 

When it comes to pools, recent studies show that swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning for children younger than 4 years of age. Children may improve their swimming abilities through lessons but, if they fall into a pool for example, some toddlers may panic and forget how to save themselves. So parents should be extremely vigilant when children are around pools and ensure an adult is always present and watching. 

If your child is younger than 4 years old, look for swimming programs that focus on building water confidence and teach parents about water safety. These are great opportunities for families to participate in fun activities that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. 

Here are some key water safety tips:

·       All children should be supervised by an adult when they are in or around water and should never be left alone in a pool or bathtub, even for a moment. 

·       Infants and toddlers should always be within arm’s reach of an adult when they are in or around water. This includes pools, bathtubs, and beaches. 

·       Infants who cannot sit unsupported and are too young to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) should be held by an adult at all times. 

·       The Lifesaving Society recommends an adult supervision ratio of 1:1 for infants and 1:2 for children younger than 3 years old. Teens should not supervise infants and toddlers without an adult present. 

·       PFDs or life jackets should be used by all infants who weigh at least 9 kg (20 lbs) and by toddlers who are swimming or playing near or in the water. PFDS are less bulky and buoyant than a life jacket and are often used for active sports. A life jacket, however, will have a head support cushion to keep the head and face of an unconscious victim out of the water. 

·       Home swimming pools should be fenced on all four sides and have self-closing and self-latching gates, latched from the inside. The gate latch should be above the reach of children and locked when not in use. Check local bylaws for the height and type of fence required in your area. 

·       Remember to empty toddler and other portable backyard pools after use (at least once daily when used every day). This will also prevent standing water, which can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes who may carry the West Nile virus. 

·       Parents and pool owners should learn how to swim and how to rescue a drowning victim, and should maintain certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Pool owners should have an emergency action plan, rescue equipment and a telephone on the deck or poolside. 

If you are going to purchase a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket for your baby or toddler, keep in mind the following: 

·       Check the label to be sure that your child’s PFD or life jacket meets current national safety standards and that it is the right size for your child’s weight. 

·       PFDs and life jackets for infants who weigh less than 9 kg (20 lbs) are not approved in Canada. 

·       It is important to remember that young children in a boat or on an air filled flotation device should be supervised as though they were actually in the water (since this is where many of them will end up when you least expect it). 

  • A PFD in the boat but not on the child is useless if a child goes overboard. Remember, with children it is better to anticipate a problem and prevent it rather than scramble and try to recover from a serious situation. 

To learn more about CPR and water safety, contact the CPR Instructor's Network at