The risks of drowning in swimming pools each year is significant; many are also the open-water and coastal drowning incidents accounting for unintentional injury and death cases and associated with a lapse in supervision. Most of the accidents are a result of swimming, boating or just playing in or near water.
Studies suggest someone’s age is one of the major risk factors for drowning: small aged children have drowned in even just a few inches of water in a bathtub, followed by inexperienced swimmers that go unsupervised. Then there is drowning associated with recreational aquatic activities, with victims not wearing life jackets and/or other safety equipment, from horseplay, or due to alcohol and/or drug use.
Many adult drowning deaths are alcohol-related or due to watercraft incidents, where a victim chooses not to wear a life jacket while in rough waters or open seas and falls overboard. Wearing a life jacket while boating (and even swimming) is important for safety, and can make a difference in drowning prevention.
Drowning is preventable. However, to reduce the risk people must take the proper precautions. Primarily, they shall learn about water safety and drowning prevention. Knowing how to swim and about risks of drowning can help keep them safe. In addition, since many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training, such programs for children and adults should be widely implemented.
Kids are not drown-proof, and grown-ups shall not assume that a child knows how to swim; they need constant supervision around water. Drowning can be quick with “no warning, such as screams or splashing,” explains the Drowning Prevention Foundation, which on its website (drowningpreventionfoundation.com) says “fatal or nonfatal drowning (incidents resulting in permanent neurological damage)” is a growing concern. Survivors of near-drownings (perhaps unresponsive and then revived after rescue) know all too well how lucky they are to retell how suffocating under water—and going on the last stage before actual drowning, which often results in death–is not a good experience to undergo.
According to KidsHealth.org, “Inflatable vests and arm devices such as water wings are not effective protection against drowning.” They can give a false sense of security in the water, so never use them as a substitute for constant adult supervision, the organization says, for preventing drowning on its website.
Drowning accidents can happen to anyone of any age. Therefore, if you see anyone under water for a significant period, s/he may need some help. Do not over estimate someone’s swimming skills. Act immediately before it is too late.
A call for more lifeguards came last year, after a man, a 28-year-old Nepali, drowned in Umm Al Quwain after going to the emirate’s corniche to swim with friends. As per the news mentioned by The National, Abu Dhabi (www.thenational.ae), the UAQ municipality has been warning visitors by placing signs along beaches about the dangers of entering waters without the presence of lifeguards.
Another story by the same media mentioned there was a four-old-old boy who drowned after slipping through the metal railings in Dubai Marina and falling into the water. Again, the story spoke of the value of having lifeguards at swim areas and the importance of parents to keep an eye on their children, especially when they are near bodies of water. Negligence, unfortunately, plays a part in too many drowning and near-drowning cases every year.