Montreal Children’s Hospital worried about possible rise in injuries, drownings with kids stuck at home

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COVID-19: Montreal Children’s hospital issues warning as more families stay home this summer
WATCH: As Global's Dan Spector explains, the Montreal Children's Hospital is warning of a potential increase in traumatic injuries, accidental poisonings and accidental drownings among children this summer. – May 22, 2020

As if you didn’t have enough to worry about already, with kids spending more time at home this summer than in recent years, the Montreal Children’s Hospital is advising parents to be extra vigilant.

The hospital is concerned about possible increases in drownings and traumatic injuries happening at children’s homes.

“So this summer is obviously different than any other summer with all the confinement rules that we have,” said Liane Fransblow, the trauma co-ordinator in the Injury Prevention Program at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Nine-year-old Eva and six-year-old Joseph Iannello love to swim in their backyard pool in Laval. As they likely won’t be going out as much this summer because of COVID-19, their dad Luigi thinks they’ll be splashing around even more than usual.

“They already use it every day, so we’ll just use it longer periods of a day,” Iannello said.

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However, the increase in pool time worries the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Fransblow is warning parents to be extra vigilant when kids are near pools. She spoke of the importance of having a gated fence around the pool, and that it’s closed and locked when the pool is not being used. She says when children are in the water, they must always be supervised.

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“All eyes have to be on the water when children are in the water,” Fransblow told Global News.

Eva also advises against running near the water.

“You could slip and fall if you run around the pool,” said the nine-year-old.

The Montreal Children’s Hospital says small blow-up pools can also pose a risk.

“You also need to ensure that if you buy a kiddie pool, that you empty the water after every use,” Fransblow advises.

There are dozens of drownings in Quebec every summer. Stephannie Gascon, a mother to two small children, plans to be extra careful around her backyard pool in Laval.

“Every summer we hear about drownings, so we don’t want that in our backyard,” she told Global News.

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Drownings are not the only thing the Montreal Children’s Hospital is worried about. With kids likely to spend more time at home this summer, there are a number of other things the hospital wants parents to watch out for.

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“We’ve had younger kids who’ve had some poisonings. They’ve gotten into medication, household cleaners. We’ve had a few cases since confinement of cannabis ingestion,” Fransblow said.

The hospital is also worried about trampoline injuries. Montreal’s other children’s hospital, Sainte Justine, also issued a warning about trampolines, saying to put a safety net around your trampoline, don’t allow multiple kids on at once, and avoid flips.

“Backyard trampolines are not recommended by the Canadian Pediatric Society, and we don’t recommend them either,” said Fransblow.

The trauma expert also wants parents to supervise their children if they’re playing on a balcony, and to watch out for open windows with furniture near them.

“We’re very concerned about falls. Screens do not keep children in, they just keep bugs out,” she said.

If anything does happen, the Children’s says not to be afraid to go to the hospital because of COVID-19.

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“They have it set up so that that it’s safely done,” Fransblow said.

She told Global News she’d brought her own six-year-old son there in recent days after he fell off his bike.

Finally, be sure to lock your hot cars and keep the keys out of sight.

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