PEI

Child care board looking into near-drowning at pool

P.E.I.'s Child Care Facilities Board is currently "looking into" a situation at a children's day camp last week when a boy nearly drowned in a pool in Eldon, according to the province.

Boy was rescued from water at children's day camp last Wednesday

The provincially-appointed Child Care Facilities Board is looking into a near-drowning at a P.E.I. pool last week. (Brian Rodgers/CBC)

P.E.I.'s Child Care Facilities Board is currently "looking into" a situation at a children's day camp last week when a boy nearly drowned in a pool in Eldon, according to the province.

Last Wednesday, the Sperenza day camp was on a field trip to the pool when a boy went into the deep end and was submerged in the water. 

'We have had 3,800 children through our program and this is our first incident. One too many, in my opinion.— Aleida Tweten, Sperenza

Aleida Tweten, co-owner of Sperenza, told CBC the child was not breathing when he was pulled out, but that day camp staff revived him through CPR and rescue breathing.

"I'm very, very proud of our staff ... I'm so proud of how calm they stayed and how professional they were and how quickly they did it," said Tweten, when she spoke with CBC last week. She said a doctor at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital told her the boy was doing fine.

Tweten also told CBC that language could have been a barrier to the child understanding the camp's safety policies, and that the camp will be considering hiring a translator.

In a statement, the province said the Child Care Facilities Board was "made aware of the situation" and is following up.

The day camp has since faced some criticism on social media questioning the supervision at the pool that day.

Sperenza changing policies

CBC's calls and emails to Sperenza were not returned Tuesday, but Aleida Tweten did issue a statement on the company's blog. In it she defends Sperenza's staff, saying they range in age from 16 to 47, and that staff have first aid and some have advanced training and are lifeguards.

"Our staff-to-child ratios that day were ... one counsellor for [every] five children." The company added its counsellor-to-child ratio is much better than required.

In the post, Sperenza said it will only use supervised beaches and pools in future and will continue to test children for their swimming abilities.

"In the past three years, we have had 3,800 children through our program and this is our first incident. One too many, in my opinion," Tweten wrote.

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