Playground and water feature safety
Playgrounds can be located close to natural water features, such as ponds, lakes, streams, or built water features, such as fountains, splash pads and wading pools. Some home playground sets have water features, allowing children to cool off in the hot summer months. It is important to remember there is a drowning risk whenever a water feature is present. Young children under five years of age are most at risk because:
- They can drown in as little as 2.5 centimetres (one inch) of water
- They are attracted to water, but can't understand the risks
- They lack balance and coordination and are at increased risk of falling into bodies of water
Parents should be sure to take the following steps, to help prevent drowning and other injuries from occurring on splash pads, wading pools or home water features.
- Actively supervise your child. Stay within sight and reach of your child. Children under five years of age are at highest risk of drowning.
- Teach older children these rules for safe play: Walk, don't run. Take turns with equipment (such as faucets, sprayers and toys).
- Have children wear water-appropriate footwear. Children can wear non-slip shoes that are safe and comfortable for water play. This will help prevent cuts and scrapes from material such as gravel, which may have collected on splash pad surfaces.
- Report any broken or damaged equipment to the operator of the splash pad or the wading pool. Broken or damaged equipment could lead to injury and should be fixed or replaced.
- All backyard pools or ponds should be fenced on all four sides to prevent drowning. The fence should be at least 1.2 metres (four feet) tall and have a self-closing, self-latching gate. It should be designed to prevent children from getting under or over it.
- Toddler pools and home playground water features should be emptied after each use. Children have drowned by slipping into unattended paddling pools.