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News Release

Health Department encourages summer fun and promotes water safety for children

WHITBY, ON June 06, 2017

Durham Region Health Department is reminding parents and caregivers to be water safe this summer. National Child Safety Week runs June 5 to 11. Whether visiting backyard pools, cottages or hotels, it is important to ensure that children are protected from drowning.

“Summer is a great time for swimming in backyard pools or at the beach, however these activities may come with distractions that can place your child at risk of drowning,” explained Lynn Ryan, a public health nurse with the Health Department. “Some common water hazards for children that parents and caregivers should be aware of include rain barrels, buckets, kiddie pools and backyard ponds.”

According to the Health Department’s Injury Data, from 2002 to 2015 children 0 to 4 years old ranked higher than any other age group for emergency room visits and hospitalizations due to unintentional drowning.

Drowning can occur in as little as two and a half centimetres of water. According to Canada Injury Compass 2014, children have tiny lungs and even a small amount of water can put them at risk.

Some suggestions to keep your child safe around water include:

  • Always keep babies in your arms and toddlers within arm’s reach when they are in or near the water.
  • Only use a rain barrel that has a lid.
  • Empty kiddie pools when not in use.
  • Keep hot tub covers fastened when not in use.
  • Fence backyard pools on all four sides and have a self-closing, self-latching gate. Check your local by-laws for fencing requirements in your municipality.
  • Provide swimming lessons for children. Use of life jackets is recommended but does not replace adult supervision. Floating toys do not replace the watchful eyes of an adult.
  • When visiting an unfamiliar place, search for child safety hazards and take action to keep your child safe.

“Young children are naturally curious and attracted to water but they do not understand the danger that water can represent,” continued Ms. Ryan. “It’s important for parents and caregivers to be aware of their child’s stage of development to help anticipate risk and take action to make the surrounding environment safe.”

To obtain a free copy of the “Keeping Kids Safe” resource or more information on creating a safe environment for your young children, visit For more information call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham

Glendene Collins – Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999 or

If this information is required in an accessible format, please call 1-877-777-2729.

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For more information, please contact Health Department.