The minimum age to enter a Montreal city pool alone has been raised to eight years old, part of an effort to make swimming safer.

The minimum age used to be six – and prior to 2017, there was no minimum age, only a height requirement.

Children must also meet a minimum height of 15 centimetres taller than the deepest part of the pool’s shallow end, and could be asked to pass a swimming test.

Last week, a teenaged boy was found unconscious in a Cartierville public pool after the pool’s opening hours had ended. The boy later died in hospital.

Earlier this month, a six-year-old boy who had recently moved to Montreal from Nigeria drowned while swimming in a crowded pool in St-Leonard.

The Quebec Lifesaving Society worked with the city on the new regulations.

Raynald Hawkins, director of the Quebec Lifesaving Society, said it’s the right thing to do.

“At six years old, they (aren’t) very good swimmers, sometimes they don't have the height requirement at the shallow end. That's why we try to harmonize and create standards. Some municipalities have it at seven, but I can tell you the trend is toward eight,” he said.

Hawkins notes that eight-year-olds have the skills to swim and 50 per cent of them can survive in the deep end of a pool.

He says 13 per cent of drownings in Quebec occur in private pools like those in backyards, apartment buildings and hotels and that less than one per cent happen in public pools.

Montreal consulted with its boroughs and other Quebec towns before council adopted the new regulation, which went into effect as soon as the city’s 48 indoor and 74 outdoor pools across the city opened to the public.


With files from The Canadian Press