With municipal beaches, wading pools, splash pads and outdoor pools set to open or already open the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition is encouraging residents to remember to practice water safety during the summer months. It is important to remember that drowning deaths are preventable. Residents who intend to be around backyard pools this summer are encouraged to follow these tips:
- Always stay within arms’ reach of your child in and around the water.
- Be free of all distractions while supervising children who are enjoying water-related activities.
- Ensure weak or non-swimmers wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD).
- Enrol yourself and your children in swimming lessons.
- Take a first aid and CPR course.
- Install fencing around all pools, measuring at least five feet or 1.5 metres high and include a self-latching, self-closing gate with a lock.
The City’s Pool Enclosure By-law No. 2013-39, which came into effect in March 2013, is designed to increase the safety of all pools and hot tubs, particularly for young children. Requirements vary so please check the website ottawa.ca/poolenclosures for those that apply to your specific situation. The following requirements apply regardless of when your pool enclosure was constructed:
- All gates in a pool enclosure must be self-closing and equipped with a self- latching device and a lock located inside the enclosed area
- All pool owners must ensure every gate around the pool is closed and locked at all times, except when the pool area is in use.
- Pool enclosure gates adjoining public spaces such as parks, golf courses or public pathways must be locked at all times, except when the gate itself is in use.
- Portable and blow up pools that hold water at a depth of two feet or more are a potential safety hazard and require a compliant pool enclosure.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of deaths for Canadian children under the age of five. Unattended toddlers are especially at risk because they are mobile, very curious and the least capable to self-rescue of any age group. Whether it is at the cottage, campsite or in the backyard pool, drowning can happen in a matter of seconds.
The Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition is made up of representatives from the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa; Accora Village; Dovercourt Recreation Centre; The Ottawa Hospital; Canadian Red Cross; CHEO; Lifesaving Society; Ottawa Public Health; Ottawa Police Service; Ottawa Paramedic Service; Ottawa Fire Services; Ottawa Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services; Ottawa Building Code Services; Ontario Provincial Police; Service de sécurité incendie de Gatineau; Service de la culture, loisirs, sports et vie communautaire de Gatineau as well as the National Capital Commission.
For more information, please contact the ODPC line at 613-580-2424 ext. 23337