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Posted On: 10 August 2015 08:56 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:15 pm

Drowning cases on the rise in Qatar

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Drowning is a leading cause of death and serious disability in children in Qatar and the number of child deaths from drowning is rising annually, according to Kulluna Health and Safety Campaign chairman and head of HMC’s Hamad International Training Centre Dr Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen.
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has urged families to pay attention to their children’s safety around swimming pools, the sea and other sources of water including those at home.
As much as 90% of cases of drowning involve children aged 10 or under, with 70% younger than four years old. “Most drowning incidents in Qatar occur at home, in private swimming pools and bathtubs. Some incidents of drowning do occur in the sea because families often go to the beach for picnics and leisure activities at this time of year,” said Dr Saifeldeen. “Almost all the drowning incidents in swimming pools in Qatar happen when the parents are not present and either one child or a group of children are left to swim alone by themselves.”
Kulluna has highlighted several measures to keep children safe in and around water. They include ensuring constant supervision of the children; preventing unintentional access to sources of water; teaching children to swim; setting clear rules for family members when near water and enforcing them; wearing life jackets or personal flotation aids and learning to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Constant supervision is the key to keeping a child safe around water, stressed Dr Saifeldeen. “You will not be aware that a child is in trouble unless you are watching him or her. Don’t leave children on their own around or in the water, even if they can swim, even if they are wearing life jackets. Supervision means you can see and hear them, and can reach them very quickly, because drowning can take seconds to happen and it often happens in silence.”
Unintentional access to sources of water can be prevented by installing a secure gate or other barrier, which must be checked on a regular basis to ensure the barrier is working properly and serving its purpose as a child grows in height and dexterity, he suggested.
“Always close the doors to bathrooms and drain paddling pools, baths and buckets immediately after use. About 70 to 80% of drowning cases happen when the child is not supposed to be in the water,” Dr Saifeldeen said, stressing that barriers alone are not enough and direct supervision is still essential.
He pointed out that there are a number of schools or clubs in Qatar where children can learn how to swim and parents themselves can teach their kids, with direct supervision. He explained that small children and those who are inexperienced or weak swimmers should wear life jackets or a personal flotation aid when in or near water, even with parents around.