"You are not expecting your child to drown today."
That was the not-so-subtle reminder this week from the B.C. Coroners Service that expectations mean nothing if you don't pay careful attention to the risks.
One of the most heart-rending realities of life is embodied in the drowning of a child.
It can - and does - happen. And when it does, it will most likely happen right in your own backyard, a fact tragically underlined by the deaths earlier this week of a two-year-old girl in Quebec and the double-drowning of a 20-month-old boy and his grandmother in Surrey.
B.C. Coroners Service statistics for the past six years show that close to 30 per cent of pool-related fatalities involved children between the ages of one and four years.
All of B.C.'s preschooler pool deaths since 2006 occurred in residential swimming pools - either in backyards or associated with townhouse or apartment complexes.
Not surprisingly, the summer months - especially July - are associated with the highest risk levels.
The coroners service points out that toddler pool drownings are preventable.
Stay within sight of your child at all times, and if you can't swim, keep your child within arm's length near water.
And get yourself some swimming lessons right now.
Backyard pools are not complete until they have an effective barrier to unsupervised toddlers. It needs fencing on all four sides, and self-closing and self-latching gates.
Keep your neighbours' kids in mind when you secure your pool space.
Whether your own or someone else's, even the greatest kids sometimes do dumb things.
The anguish of losing a child to drowning is unnecessary. Toddlers' behaviour can be suddenly erratic. You have to be extra-vigilant in keeping your child safe around water.
The news of your child's death is the story we never want to write.