Ontario offers an abundance of opportunities to cool off during the heat of summer with lakes, ponds and backyard swimming pools within easy reach of anyone wishing to go for a swim. As enjoyable as swimming can be, there are risks associated with it that can lead to injuries and death. There was an increase in the number of fatalities caused by drownings last year in Ontario. Young children under 5 years of age are at the greatest risk with drowning being the second leading cause of death in that age group. Adults can make a difference by taking a few precautions to make swimming safer for them and for their children.
Children need adult supervision
Never allow children in or near the water without adult supervision. A child can drown in as little as 2.5 cm of water, so no pool or body of water is safe for an unsupervised child. It is recommended that anything that holds at least 2.5 cm of water should be emptied to prevent a child from drowning. This includes coolers, pails and buckets, and bathtubs.
When swimming or around water, it is recommended that one adult be present to supervise every two children. If infants are present, there should be one adult for each baby.
Enroll children in swimming lessons and water safety programs
Young children can benefit from swimming and water safety classes that help to build confidence around pools and bodies of water. Parents can help by teaching children that swimming pools can be places to have fun, but they must do so by following a few basic safety rules, including:
- Only swim when there is an adult present to supervise.
- Do not run, push or play rough around a swimming pool.
- Do not bring glass containers into the pool area.
- Toys should be kept out of the pool area to avoid creating a tripping hazard.
- Swimming aids sold for use by children are not a substitute for adult supervision.
Children who have learned how to swim should not be left alone in swimming pools or other bodies of water. Even good swimmers can get into trouble and need assistance.
Backyard swimming pools need a fence
Every backyard swimming pool should be surrounded by a fence with a mechanism that allows the gate to close and latch on its own. Fencing should be at least 1.2 metres in height and there should be no benches or other objects nearby for a child to climb on to get over the fence. If your backyard pool can be accessed from your house, the door from the house to the pool should have a self-closing and self-locking mechanism to prevent a child from gaining access to the pool when an adult is not around.
Know your limits
All swimmers, both children and adults, should know their limits and not exceed them. Swimming is a strenuous activity, so it is easy to become tired and fatigued. When swimming in lakes, rivers and other large bodies of water, do not venture out beyond where you will be too tired to make it back.
Watch the weather
No one should be in the water when there is thunder or lightening present. Whether you are in a backyard swimming pool or at a lake, do not wait until you see lightening before heading to safety. Leave the beach or the pool area as soon as the weather turns threatening.
Ontario personal injury lawyers
The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation for individuals suffering injuries due to the negligence of other parties. If you or your child has been injured in a swimming accident, call their 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit their website to speak to someone now. They offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.
First published at https://diamondlaw.ca/blog/swimming-safety