Two boys have died and a third is in critical condition in hospital following three separate incidents involving water this weekend.

Saturday evening, police officers received a call about two children who went missing from a private property in Upton, Que., about 90 kilometres east of downtown Montreal.

One child, who is five, was found by a security guard at a nearby campground. That child guided authorities to the spot where the three-year-old who was with him had fallen into the Rivière Noire.

The younger child was found unconscious in the water. He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Earlier Saturday, an eight-year-old boy was found unconscious in a pool in Sherbrooke during a birthday party.

There were a number of adults around, and some performed CPR on the boy. He was taken to hospital in critical condition.

And on Friday, an 11-year-old boy was found unconscious at the bottom of a pool in Chelsea, Que. He was also attending a birthday party.

He was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Designate a parent to watch kids

It's a familiar refrain but it bears repeating — it usually isn't immediately obvious that someone is in distress while in the water.

Raynald Hawkins, executive director of Quebec's Lifesaving Society, says it can take between 15 to 20 seconds for a child to drown. 

If a child looks like they may be in distress, don't assume they are just fooling around, holding their breath underwater for fun. Check on them, he said. 

Hawkins said at large gatherings, there should be a designated adult watching over kids in the water.

That person, especially when the children are young, would ideally be in the water with them.

"Don't take it for granted that another parent is watching them," he said.

With files from Radio-Canada