The summer is just beginning, but Quebec has already 30 drownings. If the two episodes of heat have been able to lead to these sad events, the experts are also increasingly concerned about the effect of the pandemic on the safety of children in swimming pools.
“We’re concerned, although they did not yet have the statistics to show it,” recalls Dr. Marianne Beaudin, who is head of the department of traumatology at the CHU Sainte-Justine.
The pandemic of COVID-19 exacerbates, according to her, some of the risks associated with drowning, since children spend more time at home because of the reduction of the offer day camps, among others.
“The other reality is that there are parents who are unfortunately juggle between multiple responsibilities, including work at home and, possibly, the supervision of children in the pool,” stresses Dr. Beaudin.
In Quebec, it is estimated that in about 87% of the cases of drowning of the child, the supervision was inadequate or non-existent.
“It doesn’t mean that the parent is not in the house, says Dr. Beaudin. This means that it may be away to go answer the phone, go prepare the lunch or simply that he is in the court, but he is distracted by another task, such as watching on his phone or to telework.”
Supervising children in the pool is therefore imperative, she says, since it is sufficient to 60 seconds for a child to be found dead.
“It is very fast and it is insidious,” warns Dr. Beaudin. It has often been the myth of drowning in the movies, where there is a lot of noise, it cries and it splashes, but, in fact, drowning is silent.”
For children under 5 years of age, it is recommended to maintain a distance of an arm, so to accompany them in the pool. For those who have 5 to 10 years, it is recommended that monitoring is “active” in the vicinity of the pool.
All the more that, even if the child is resuscitated after a drowning, it can keep sequelae. This is what is called a drowning, non-fatal or near drowning.
“When the person has been unconscious, she had to be resuscitated, you must go to a hospital. Then, we are going to make a monitoring of your breathing, because the lungs may have been affected, for example if there has been water inside,” says Dr. Beaudin.
The lifesaving Society has recorded 30 deaths for the year 2020, compared to 21 at this time last year.