Doha, 27 June 2020: As summer months begin and temperatures continue to rise, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) urged all families to take necessary precautions when going to beaches or swimming pools to avoid the risk of drowning.
Dr. Khalid Abdel-Nour, Senior Consultant Emergency Medicine and Director of Hamad International Training Center (HITC), said that drowning is the third leading cause of death resulting from unintentional injuries worldwide, accounting for 7% of these deaths.
Drowning is thought to be the cause of thousands of deaths around the world every year, with children and individuals with increased access to water at most risk of drowning. The number of deaths resulting from drowning among children continues to increase annually. Drowning is considered one of the leading causes of death and severe disability among children in Qatar.
Commenting on the recent reopening of beaches in Qatar, Dr. Abdel-Nour explained that 90 percent of all drowning cases involve children aged 10 years or younger, with 70 percent of these cases involving children under the age of four. Most incidents of drowning occur in the sea because families often go to the beach for picnics and leisure activities at this time of the year. Many drowning incidents also occur in swimming pools when parents or caregivers are not present, and their children are left unattended.
“Parents are advised to adhere to safety measures to prevent drowning accidents in swimming pools at homes, such as installing a secure gate or other barrier to prevent children from gaining access to the swimming pool when there is no adult supervising them,” said Dr. Abdel-Nour.
Dr. Mahmoud Younis, Assistant Director of Health Promotion and Community Engagement with HMC’s Hamad International Training Center, offered the following safety tips for families when going to the beach or when allowing their children to use swimming pools:
- Check the weather forecast before going to the beach to avoid inclement weather and the risks associated with strong winds and high waves.
- Follow all safety guidelines when going to the beach or swimming pool for swimming.
- Ensure children are constantly supervised to prevent any unintended access to water sources and remember that drowning can take seconds to happen.
- Teach your children to swim or sign them up for swim classes with a certified trainer.
- Children should wear lifejackets or a personal flotation aid when in or near water.
- It important for the parents to learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- It is also important to be aware of potential sources of risk other than swimming pools, such as bathtubs. Always close the doors to bathrooms and swimming pools immediately after use.
“We hope we don’t reach the point where we need CPR. Unfortunately, even if we manage to successfully resuscitate a child, children can end up with severe disability,” said Dr. Younis.
“Learning how to perform CPR could be very useful as the first few minutes after an accident in water are critical. Always keep your first aid kit by the pool. In case of a drowning incident, it is important to remain calm and follow the CPR instructions. I would like to mention that HITC’s Kulluna campaign offers specialized first aid and CPR training courses to anyone interested,” Dr. Younis concluded.