Three children have died after three separate drownings in Manitoba over the past week.
Island Lake RCMP responded to a report of a drowning in Garden Hill First Nation on June 15.
Police say a 23-month-old boy was found in the lake outside his residence at around 3 p.m. He was brought to the local nursing station and then transported to Winnipeg, where he succumbed to his injuries in hospital on June 18.
Police say the child had been in the care of older siblings at the time of the drowning.
On June 18, Island Lake RCMP responded to a drowning in St. Theresa Point First Nation.
Two 10-year-old girls had swum out too far while with a group of friends. They both began having difficulty and went under the water. A bystander was able to pull one of the girls out, who was taken to the local nursing station and recovered.
A local safety officer located the other girl using dive equipment. She was pronounced deceased at the local nursing station.
Island Lake RCMP continue to investigate.
On Monday, RCMP received a report of a drowning near a residence on Old Bridge Road in Portage la Prairie.
Police say a two-year-old boy was with family members on the property and had wandered away from the group. He was located a short time later in a retention pond near the home.
The child was transported to hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
“We can’t even imagine what the families are going through,” Christopher Love, the society’s Water Smart and safety management coordinator, said in an interview.
Love said he could not speak specifically to the recent cases, as the details are not yet known.
But generally, he said, people need to keep in mind that drowning is usually not easy to spot.
“Our drowning research that we’ve done for many, many, many decades at this point shows that drowning is very fast, it is very quiet, it is very easily missed,” Love said.
The society offers remote and northern communities weeklong visits, where instructors teach survival swimming, first aid and tips for parents to keep children safe.
Key measures to prevent kids from drowning include life-jackets and close adult supervision, Love said.
“Essentially, before they’re teenagers, under age 13, there always needs to be an adult watching those children when they’re in, on or near the water.
“And when we’re talking extremely young children — we’re talking here six and under — that active adult supervision needs to be within arm’s reach.”
— With files from The Canadian Press