HMC issues tips for parents, caregivers to prevent children from drowning
Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Hamad Injury Prevention Program (HIPP) has urged parents, families and caregivers to be watchful over children and know how to keep them safe and avoid the risk of drowning.
“Water safety is important for all ages, but especially for toddlers. Drowning is a leading cause of injury death in children 1-4. Young children can drown in as little as an inch or two of water, and it can happen quickly and silently,” Tsoler Sekayan, Program Coordinator of the HIPP said.
According to a global estimate, 236,000 people die from drowning each year. Drowning is considered to be the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide.
Children, males and individuals with increased access to water are most at risk for drowning, HMC stated.
Locally, at least 50 residents die from drowning every year.
In the case of children, it is important to be vigilant, particularly toddlers as they are curious, active and eager to explore their surroundings and are attracted to water.
But they don't understand that water can be dangerous and aren't old enough yet to do what is needed when in trouble, HMC underlined.
Additionally, males are especially at risk of drowning, with twice the overall mortality rate of females. They are more likely to be hospitalized than females for non-fatal drowning.
It is found that rate of drowning is higher among males because of increased exposure to water and riskier behavior including swimming alone.
So, it is essential to protect them from water hazards where you live and where you visit, HMC stressed.
Below are some tips HMC has shared to enhance water safety at home for all families, in particular those with young children:
- Always provide your undivided attention and supervision to kids when they are in or around water. Young children can drown in as little as one inch of water and in complete silence, so it’s very important to keep them within an arm’s reach of an adult.
- Empty tubs, buckets, containers and kids’ pools immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach.
- Close lids and doors. Keep toilet lids and doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed when not in use.
- Install fences around home or compound pools. A pool fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least four feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.
- When at the beach, assign a responsible adult to watch all members of your group. This ‘watcher’ responsibility must be shared in shifts among adults and it is proven to greatly reduce drowning in children.
- Learn CPR and basic water rescue skills. It is important to know how to respond in an emergency without putting yourself at risk.
- Call 999 for the ambulance service.
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