A Brampton senior is hailed a hero after saving the life of a drowning toddler. The 69-year-old woman was out for a walk at Chinguacousy Park in mid-June when she spotted a lifeless child floating face down in a pond. The woman quickly waded into the muddy water and grabbed the girl by her jeans, pulling her to safety. The girl started coughing and spitting up water, and though the woman knew CPR, thankfully she did not need to use it.
This situation is a reminder that all adults play a role in keeping children in our communities safe. We all need to watch out for children and learn what to do in an emergency. It really does take a village to keep kids safe and this bystander was proof of that by taking quick action and knowing what to do.
It just takes a second to lose sight of a toddler who can easily wander off into a dangerous situation. Water is one of those dangerous situations and drowning is very quick and often silent. Children should be actively supervised at all times, but parents and babysitters can unintentionally lose sight of a child when distracted by a number of things, including tending to other children. All adults in the community can be that extra set of eyes that help keep our kids safe around water and free from harm.
According to the Canadian Red Cross, the vast majority of water-related deaths involving young children had an absence of effective adult supervision. Children are naturally curious around water. They can enter a body of water to play or fall unexpectedly into water. Every year, dozens of fatalities result from unexpected falls at waterfronts and pools. The Red Cross says that 21% of fatalities involved children aged one to four years and most were the result of an unexpected fall into water. Whether in a pool, bathtub, or at the beach, children should always be actively supervised around water – even if they can swim. A small child can disappear in seconds and drown in only a few centimetres of water – just enough water to cover their nose.
What can people do to keep children safe around water?
- Supervise children in, on and around water at all times.
- Designated one adult swimmer to watch children in water at all times.
- Be within arm’s reach of a young children in and around water.
- Avoid distractions and alcohol while engaging in activities around the water.
- Learn water safety skills and how to swim.
- Learn bystander CPR and emergency first aid.
- Keep areas around backyard pools and decks free of toys and other tripping hazards.
- Ensure children wear a lifejacket or PFD while boating.
- Enroll children from a young age in swimming lessons.
- Ensure home pools meet municipal requirements for fencing and self-closing and self-latching gates.
Canada is a wonderful, caring country filled with strong and safe communities, where attentive people help their neighbours and watch out for each another.
About Velma Ganassini
Velma Ganassini is the mother of 3 terrific boys, founder of the multi-award winning SOS First Aid and Safety Training, co-founder of SOS 4 Kids Inc (www.sosfirstaid.ca) and co-author of Home Alone Safety for kids. She is dedicated to making injury prevention information more interesting and engaging for children and adults. Follow Velma on Twitter @sosforkids.