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article imageToddler latest in Toronto's drowning season Special

By KJ Mullins     Jul 18, 2010 in World
Toronto - A little girl won't be celebrating her third birthday after drowning in a backyard pool in Toronto Saturday. Emergency crews raced to Melrose Avenue at around 2 p.m. but the child had died by the time she arrived at hospital.
"It's horrifying, the number of drownings this year."- Deputy Commander Dave Viljak, Toronto EMS
Neighbours were alerted, according to Toronto EMS, of the latest child drowning for Toronto by the screams of a little girl's family Saturday afternoon. While emergency crews raced to the scene, those in the area were jumping in to pull out the lifeless body of an area toddler on Melrose Avenue.
The little girl is just the latest victim during a summer that has seen 16 drowning deaths in Ontario.
Deputy Commander Dave Viljak, Toronto EMS, said during a phone interview that a child can drown in less than a minute.
"When a child jumps into a pool and takes that first gasp of water underground they can lose consciousness in 10 to 20 seconds. It's very quick and very frightening."
Viljak said that parents can help prevent accidental drowns by using locks-on gates to their backyard pools and by locking their doors within the home so little ones don't venture outside alone.
"Those with backyard pools are required to have a 4 foot fence that can't be climbed around the area." Viljak said adding that vigilance is the most important factor in drowning prevention.
"Do not take your eyes off your children for a second when you're near water," Viljak added, "Even adults have drowned in pools where others have been in. An additional step for parents is to register their children in swimming classes."
In Toronto community centres often offer those classes at a reduced rate for families unable facing economic hardships.
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