Doha, 26 July, 2021: The Hamad Injury Prevention Program (HIPP) at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Hamad Trauma Center is warning parents, families and caregivers to supervise their children and to know about how to protect kids, avoid risks, and respond in an emergency. Ms. Tsoler Sekayan, Program Coordinator of the HIPP, the community outreach arm of HMC’s Hamad Trauma Center, says ‘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’.
Worldwide, an estimated 236,000 people die from drowning every year, it is considered the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide and children, males and individuals with increased access to water are most at risk for drowning. In Qatar, as many as 50 residents die from drowning every year.
Toddlers 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. In addition, 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. Studies suggest that the higher drowning rates among males are due to increased exposure to water and riskier behavior such as swimming alone. So, it's essential to protect them from water hazards where you live and where you visit.
Here are some recommendations that are proven to improve water safety at home for all families, especially 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