Toddler's death sparks warnings over water safety
The tragic death of a toddler who drowned in a backyard swimming pool at an Orleans daycare where at least 22 children were present has officials urging parents and caregivers to keep a closer eye on kids when they're near water.
Jérémie Audette was pronounced dead in hospital after he was found floating face-down in a backyard swimming pool Wednesday morning.
Jérémie was visiting the daycare for a play date with other children in the neighbourhood when the drowning occurred.
The circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear. However, several caregivers were present at the time of the incident. Ottawa police are still investigating the case.
Spike in drownings?
The Lifesaving Society says 75 people in Ontario have drowned so far this year; six of those were toddlers who drowned in backyard pools. In 2009, there were 64 drownings across the province, the society said.
However, Ontario's chief coroner says those numbers may not be accurate.
He announced late Thursday that he will review all drowning deaths in Ontario this summer to determine if there's been a real spike in drownings, or if the deaths are related to pre-existing conditions.
The Red Cross says drowning is one of the leading causes of death for Canadian children between the ages of one and four.
Water safety experts say it takes less than 30 seconds for a child to drown, making it extremely important for parents and caregivers to be vigilant.
Recent statistics show that adults were supervising children in 38 per cent of all infant and toddler drownings.
"Toddlers don't have the ability to self rescue, even if they have taken swimming lessons, and they may not have the ability to call out for help," said Heather Badenoch, of the Canadian Red Cross.
Jérémie's death has also raised questions about whether backyard swimming pools should be allowed at privately-run daycares. However, the former president of the Canada Safety Council says banning backyard pools is not the solution.
"We've got to remember a lot of daycare centres are in private homes, you know, and families do have backyard pools," Emile Therrien told CTV Ottawa.
The homeowner, who runs the private daycare, had a gate and fence around the swimming pool, meeting the bylaw requirements set out by the City of Ottawa.
Experts say the best advice for parents is to always keep children within arms reach when they're near water. Other water safety tips include:
- wearing a lifejacket;
- giving your child swimming lessons;
- being wary of hazards in the water;
- obstructing access to pools that aren't in use.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Karen Soloman