Keeping our children safe around water

LHSC Trauma Program urges parents to use water safety precautions this summer

June 27, 2012

Summer holidays are right around the corner for thousands of children in the region, and as families prepare to hit the beach, relax at the cottage, or dig out the pool toys, the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) would like to remind parents of the importance of water safety.

 A recent report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information indicates drowning is the second most common cause of unintentional death among young children in Ontario, after motor vehicle crashes.  Children under five are at greatest risk of drowning, and toddlers faced almost half of near-drowning injuries, according to the report. “Drowning hazards are not limited to the outdoors. Children can drown in less than 1 inch of water, so it is important to protect your child within the home as well,” says Jane Harrington, Injury Prevention Specialist at LHSC.


With summer only a few days old, there have already been reports of young children drowning in ponds and pools while briefly unattended. Tragedies like these need not occur if caregivers follow a few simple precautions.


The Middlesex-London Health Unit outlines 4 easy ways to protect children this summer:

- Keep your family safe by supervising children in and around the water

- Keep them within sight and arms' reach

- Make sure young children and weak swimmers wear personal flotation devices at all times

- Take swimming lessons and learn first aid

(Source: Middlesex-London Health Unit)

 As the designated Lead Trauma Hospital (LTH) for the Southwestern Ontario region, LHSC plays a leadership role in the specialized care of injured adults and children, including those suffering from water related incidents. The program coordinates services to meet regional needs and participates in local, provincial and national programs related to education, research and injury prevention.


“Drowning can happen swiftly and quietly, so the best defense to prevent drowning is constant supervision,” says Harrington.


For further information on LHSC’s Trauma Program:


For further information on the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s water safety campaign:


 Kids playing in water