Ontario Swimming Pool Drownings – Can they be Prevented?
The age-old adage “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt” rings especially true when it comes to backyard pools. Once summer hits, Hamilton area residents with private pools enjoy jumping in with friends and family to cool off from the hot, humid days. Pools are fun and social and can make a great addition to any backyard. But, if you have a pool and do not take proper safety and supervision precautions, you could be at risk for a drowning.
Sadly however, with summer coming, the rise of Ontario pool drownings will no doubt follow suit. A drowning, or near-drowning accident is brutally devastating for families to go through and for most, a non-recoverable circumstance. Unfortunately, the terrible reality is that most drowning accidents could probably have been prevented. Our aim is to ensure pool owners are aware of their innate responsibility to provide pool environment because, unfortunately, many deaths and injuries could have be prevented with supervision, proper safety pool covers, fences and water safety precautions.
Canadian Drowning Statistics – Let’s all be Careful
- According to the 2017 National Drowning Report, there were 428 drowning deaths in Canada in 2014. An average of 26 drowning deaths per year occur in a pool, 89% of these are in private pools. The highest incidence of private pool deaths occurred in Ontario.
- Preliminary 2017 data shows 117 drowning deaths occurred in Ontario.
- Open bodies of water such as lakes, rivers and oceans and bathtub deaths are also common places for drowning accidents.
- In 70% of the child drownings in backyard pools, the pool had no fence or the fence was not in compliance with safety bylaws. 60% of child drownings occur between June and August. Read more from Emilysswimschool.com.
- According to the Lifesaving Society, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death in children ages one to four.
13 Pool Safety Tips to Prevent the Unthinkable Loss of a Child
- Ensure your pool is surrounded by a 1.5 meters or higher fence with a self-closing gate that locks;
- Install a gate alarm or warning system to alert you if the pool gate is open;
- If your patio door or door opens directly onto the pool gate consider installing a fence or gate. At minimum, put a high lock and an alarm or bell on this door;
- Keep the pool cover on when not in use. An automatic, ridged safety pool cover that seals offers the most protection;
- Install an underwater safety motion alarm;
- Have a buoyant throwing aid within reach of the pool;
- Ensure your family, friends and guests know that children are to be supervised by a responsible adult when in the pool;
- Learn first-aid and CPR;
- Repair broken diving boards, slides, stairs etc.;
- Ensure your pool has proper depth markings;
- Do not allow people to jump/dive into shallow areas of the pool;
- Place pool rule signage and ensure your guests understand your pool rules;
- Put a sign near the gate for people to not enter or trespass without permission.
If you own a pool, it is important for you to understand that you have a responsibility to adhere to pool safety requirements and precautions that help prevent accidental drownings. If you fail to keep your pool area safe and inaccessible, or fail to provide proper pool supervision for children, you could unfortunately be held liable for any injuries that occur in or around your pool. Having a backyard pool offers so much fun, enjoyment and the opportunity to make a lifetime of positive memories. It also offers enormous risk. If you own a pool, it is your responsibility to provide a safe and supervised environment.
How To Safeguard Your Kids – Water Safety Starts Early
Whether you own a backyard pool or not, as a parent you will want to:
- Try your best to teach your children water safety from a young age;
- Enroll your children in swim lessons;
- Have regular discussions about supervision and pool safety;
- Teach your kids to ask permission before they enter the water;
- Never leave children unsupervised near any source of water including bathtubs and even outdoor water tables and wading pools. Drowning can occur in even minimal depths;
- Teach kids to look out for their friends and to not rely solely on the supervision of lifeguards. Sometimes drownings even occur when there is proper supervision on deck. For example, tragically, in February a teenager in Quebec drowned and went unnoticed underwater while his class was taking part in swimming lessons at a public pool.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers can help. We Serve Clients Province Wide.
If your child, family member or a loved one has died or been injured in a pool accident you may want speak to an experienced lawyer to determine what options you may have, if any. Our Ontario swimming pool and drowning accident lawyers are experienced, and if needed, we will work hard to get you and your family the justice you deserve. Our Hamilton lawyers have a wealth of experienced in handling wrongful death and serious injury cases, including pool drownings. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers offer a complimentary and confidential consultation. Feel free to call us at 905-333-8888, fill in a contact form or chat with our live operator, 24/7, who will be pleased to help set up a free consultation, with no obligation to you or your family.