Near-drowning at Magic Mountain prompts warning
Lifeguards not babysitters, says Lifesaving Society
A near-drowning at Moncton's Magic Mountain water park over the weekend has prompted calls for parents to keep a close eye on their children even when lifeguards are present.
Ed McCormick was at the water park on Sunday taking one last dip in the kiddy pool with his five-year-old son when he noticed a young boy on his back, submerged.
He said at first he thought the boy was holding his breath but when he flipped over he knew something was wrong.
"I didn't see his arms moving, his legs moving, didn't see any air....that's when I thought 'that's not right.'"
McCormick immediately pulled the boy from the water and called to a nearby lifeguard for help.
"I was pretty scared...he was just lifeless and limp. I've taken CPR but I guess it doesn't prepare you to deal with that," said McCormick.
"The only thing I could think of was try to get the water out of his lungs."
The boy was resuscitated and sent to hospital by ambulance where he was expected to make a full recovery.
Magic Mountain manager Mark Jelley says people don't realize how quickly children can get into trouble in the water and he hopes the close call will serve as a reminder to parents.
"At the end of the day what's most important is that parents and guardians watch their children — lifeguards are great to have but they're second to parental supervision."
Lifesaving Society says drownings up this season
Barbara Buyers is with the Lifesaving Society and says so far this year drownings have claimed eight lives in New Brunswick.
Last year at this time there had been four.
Buyers says contrary to how drownings are portrayed in the movies, it can happen quickly and quietly.
"Many people are surprised to hear that a drowning can happen in 20 seconds and it's silent."
She says lifeguards should never be considered babysitters and recommends parents stay within arms-reach of their children.
"You have to be vigilant. It's not your time to relax because the lifeguards are there, you are in fact the parent lifeguard for your child."
Parents encouraged to use PFDs
McCormick says the little boy he rescued was not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD), something he encourages other parents to consider.
"My son and his little friend both had life jackets on, they can slip out of view just for a few seconds — there's so many people around and there's probably 300 kids that look like your kid so you have to take every precaution available."
Jelley says PFDs are free for adults and children at Magic Mountain, and says non-swimmers and children less than four feet or 1.2 metres tall are encouraged to wear them.
But he says parents should never see that as a replacement for supervision and teaching children to swim.
"They need to watch their children when they're around water, whether it's at the beach or at the pool or in an establishment like this," Jelley said.