Parents must make sure their children are supervised around water over the Easter holiday, to prevent drownings, paramedics warned on Friday (22/03/2013).
"With the Easter holidays approaching and the amount of leisure time spent in or near water likely to increase, parents and those supervising children should be on high alert,” Netcare 911 said in a statement.
The number of drowning and near-drowning call-outs had increased 11 percent between December 2012 and January 2013, compared to the previous year. ”[Netcare 911] responded to more than 320 callouts to drownings and near drownings last year and to more than 80 during January and February this year,” it said.
Parents should not assume their children did not need supervision, said Netcare 911 CEO Craig Grindell.
"Make sure a close eye is kept on children at all times as many drown while swimming unsupervised in rivers, dams and the sea each year,” he said.
"Don’t assume that because children are of a particular age they can swim without supervision.” Statistics showed that inland areas reported more call-outs for children aged two to eight, and coastal areas for children aged between 10 and 18, said Grindell.
"Toddlers, however, are still more vulnerable to drowning as they have no idea about the dangers of water and tend to be very inquisitive.” Children under the age of five had the highest drowning mortality rates worldwide, except in Canada and New Zealand, where most drownings were of adult males.
Grindell encouraged parents to make sure pools and ponds were covered with safety nets. - Sapa