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Every summer youngsters drown in the family swimming pool or in the surf at the beach. Seems like we never seem to learn that the water can be a very dangerous place to play.

I contacted two experienced aquatic directors in London to get some help in how to prevent needless drowning of our children.

Timarra Milmine, Aquatic Supervisor, of the downtown Y told me that ages three to five are the best time to protect children from drowning. The children begin as Bobbers and end up Surfers & at the age of five are able to swim 25 metres.

The children are taught breath control & water safety awareness. All of the staff have their CPR Instructors/CPR/National Life Guard certification. The cost of a children’s swim lessons, "Bubblers", starting July 10th till the end of August is $80.00

Timarra was very helpful in explaining why children find themselves in harms way. Parents and their youngsters see the family swimming pool or cottage by the lake as a fun place to play; to enjoy the water. There is lots of misinformation re having fun in the water - a child can drown in an inch of water. The stats show us that children are most vulnerable in wading/swimming pools in the back yard.

Little children can die oh so quickly if the parents do not remember to be safe - not sorry. Area beaches with qualified life guards are there to provide over all safety. Parents sitting on the beach with a book in hand doesn’t work. Your youngsters are your responsibility. You have to keep your guard up at all times.

Children who are left unattended for a second can slip from the small shallow end into the deeper part of the pool/lake while they are reaching for a beach ball.

Your youngster panics. They don’t cry for help. They gasp for air. The more they struggle the quicker they succumb. Unconsciousness and brain damage occurs in four minutes.

Drowning happens oh so quickly & so quietly. In a blink of an eye your child can be another victim.
Parents/bystanders, trained in CPR, can try and help the troubled youngsters. The recovery rate is 50:50 depending on circumstances.

Children who have swallowed copious amount of water can experience "Secondary Drowning" later in their sleep if the water has entered the trachea into the lungs. If in doubt have your youngster taken to the nearest hospital.

The Canadian Red Cross web site www.redcross.ca has six pages for parents to peruse. The ‘Water Smart Information’ section for care givers of children is most informative.

"WARNING.. If you are not within arms reach of your children when they are around the water, you have gone too far". Life preserver jackets, not water wings, can help keep your should be mandatory attire for all children when they are near the water.

It is too little, too late, to cry for your child after they have drowned. Please be vigilant.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com