WATER SAFETY: Have a fun and safe splash!
Swimming and other water sports are fun, popular and widely accessible recreational activities. Nonetheless they carry risks for potentially serious and preventable traumatic injuries. The Montreal Children’s Hospital Trauma Centre offers the following information to encourage parents and caregivers to be informed, make wise choices and keep kids active and safe.
- Install four-sided fencing around the pool (minimum of 4 feet or 1.2 metres high) with automatic locking gates.
- Do not place chairs or tables near a pool fence, as they could enable a curious youngster to climb over the fence.
- Completely remove pool covers before entering the water.
- Filtration systems should have proper coverings and be checked regularly.
- Remember to tie up long hair to avoid getting it caught in drains or filters.
- Rules should be clear and enforced: NO pushing, NO jumping on others, and NO running on the deck.
- Always have an emergency life buoy, first-aid kit and cordless phone close by.
- Pool maintenance should be done regularly. Store pool chemicals in a safe place out of the reach of young children.
- Empty kiddy pools when not in use.
- Make sure hot tubs have secure covers that children cannot open and never leave an uncovered hot tub unattended.
- Stay alert; alcohol consumption during water activities is not recommended.
- Make sure the swimming area is properly supervised and designated for that purpose.
- Children should only swim in an area for which they have the appropriate skill level.
- Children should be encouraged to take swimming lessons.
- Children under five should wear properly fitting personal floatation devices or life jackets. This also applies to children over five who are non-swimmers.
- Knowledge of water safety is essential and knowledge of life-saving techniques is an asset.
- The Lifesaving Society offers a “Prevent Drowning at Home” course and free expert counselling in your own backyard about the safety of your pool. Contact them at (514) 252-3100 or online at www.sauvetage.qc.ca.
- Do not dive into lakes or areas with shallow water. A minimum depth of 3 metres of water is recommended.
- The 3 metre diving board should not be used for general recreational purposes. Proper skill training is recommended.
- Trained supervision is essential.
- For equipment recommendations refer to the Coroner’s report of August 3rd 2006. Available at http://communiques.gouv.qc.ca/gouvqc/communiques/GPQF/Aout2006/03/c3353.html
- Backyard trampolines are not recommended and should never be used as a launch pad into a pool.
- Water parks should be diligent about routine inspection of their equipment.
- Supervision needs to be vigilant as things can happen quickly.
- Having trained staff on site is essential.
- Users should quickly clear the bottom of the slide.
- Control the number of people on the equipment at the same time.
- Equipment should be appropriate for the child’s age, height, and stage of development.
- Wear proper fitting life jackets that meet approved safety standards, regardless of swimming ability.
- Check weather conditions ahead of time. Being on a lake in stormy weather is not advisable.
- Ensure the boat is well maintained and has emergency equipment.
- Never overload or stand in a boat.
- Children should not go out in a boat alone. Skilled supervision is essential.
- Only get out of the boat once it is docked.
- It is not recommended to consume alcohol while boating.
- Frequently apply waterproof sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
- Wearing a sun hat is recommended.
- Drink water before, during and after activities, and especially while playing sports.
- Wear a pair of sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. Avoid looking directly at the sun.
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Montreal, Quebec H3H 1P3