Drowning Prevention Week aims to curb water-related fatalities
Published Saturday, July 21, 2012 5:15PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 21, 2012 6:33PM EDT
With so many drownings taking place in pools and lakes this summer, the Lifesaving Society is urging Canadians to be vigilant. That’s why it has launched the National Drowning Prevention Week.
The annual event is a reminder to increase security around bodies of water.
The message is especially important in Quebec, where so far this year, there have been 45 drownings compared with 41 at this time last year.
Close to 100 Quebec residents drown every year -- and the deadliest time is always during the construction holidays.
Whether in a pool, a lake or any other body of water, common sense applies: always keep a close eye on young children and never let them be more than an arm’s length away.
"We know drowning situations, particularly with a toddler, are very fast and silent," said Reynald Hawkins, director of the Quebec branch of the Lifesaving Society.
Swimming lessons are a priority for many families.
Shannon Casey, a Pointe-Claire mother of four-year-old Charlotte and two-year-old John, said she feels safe at Canada's oldest public pool, 61-year-old Sunnyside.
"We don't have a backyard pool, but if we did, I'd be a lot more concerned. Here we have the lifeguards. It's fenced in," she said.
Sunnyside-Viking pool lifeguard Victoria Kalbarczyk said in light of recent drownings, lifeguards have been more aware of the dangers, but they have always had a proper protocol in place with intense and thorough weekly staff training meetings.
"It's a mandatory meeting and we go over everything from CPR to drownings to unconscious victims," she said.
The city of Pointe-Claire is also offering a 30-minute workshop on children and infant cardio pulmonary resuscitation.
All the recent drownings finally pushed father of two Mark Weightman him to get around to taking the course.
"It's something that everybody should take at one point in their lives, but I have two young children myself, a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old. (I did it) for them. They're always around pools,” he said.
Pointe-Claire's next CPR workshop takes place at 81 Summerhill Ave. on Monday at 5 p.m. For a complete list of the “Hero in 30” CPR training courses available throughout Quebec, click here.