Summer pools safety alert for youngsters in Bahrain

Negligence has been the main cause of drowning incidents involving children in the past

  

Parents have been urged not to put their children’s lives at risk by leaving them unattended at beaches, or in or near swimming pools.

With the mercury rising, it is tempting to take a dip in the water but experts have reiterated the need for constant supervision because studies have revealed that a child can drown in not more than 20 seconds.

Negligence

It has also been found that negligence has been the main cause of drowning incidents involving children in the past.

The warning comes as despite Covid-19 restrictions, families are gathering at public and private beaches as well as at poolsides at homes and residential buildings.

“Drowning prevention is everyone’s responsibility,” Royal Life Saving Bahrain (RLSB) safety executive Sam Rahman told the GDN.

“We have outlined some safety tips on how people can keep themselves and families safe this summer, especially with children,” he said, adding that swimming pools at home should be surrounded by a fence or barrier.

“Children are particularly at risk of drowning, and it is important they are supervised at all times.

“Children under five years should be within arms’ reach of an adult, and children under 10 should be clearly visible at all times.

“This includes at swimming pools, paddling pools, beaches and bathtubs.”

A RLSB survey last year revealed that more than 47 per cent of children in Bahrain do not know how to swim.

The Water Safety Benchmarking Survey also found that 95pc of children do not learn swimming at primary schools.

Mr Rahman pointed out that using arm bands and floatation devices was not “a substitute for correct supervision of children”.

“Paddling pools and other inflatable pools should not be left filled with water as a young child could fall in the water when adults are not present,” he said.

“Studies show that the majority of children who fall into pools when unsupervised are attempting to reach something in the water, such as a toy or an inflatable.

“Remove everything from the pool when you are finished and store them safely away from the poolside.”

Bahrain-based beach expert Kavinda Hettiarachchi underlined the challenges posed by unattended children.

“Unattended children are one of the major issues beach operators face in Bahrain,” said the operations manager at Sparta Marine Bahrain.

“On tips for parents to be safe in the summer, we would say – always swim with a buddy and keep a watch on them, and not on the phone please, as we see this often.

“Encourage children for a swimming lesson and teach them basic safety tips. Teach them to read signboards and flags.

“Don’t let your children play in groynes, areas which can cause injuries due to sharp stones, urchins, etc.”

Revetments or groynes are hard coastal protection structures usually built to preserve the existing uses of the shoreline and to protect the dunes or cliffs from erosion.

Exposed

“Always ensure children take a look before they leap or dive and assist them when they play in water.

“Let them drink more water and stay hydrated if they are exposed to sun while swimming or sun-bathing.

“Adults must avoid alcohol while swimming with children, as it slows down the reaction time or makes you dizzy or intoxicated and can be a cause of a greater accident.”

He also stressed the need to use a life jacket – the “first” safety gear.

Earlier this year, the GDN reported that a child can drown in as little as 20 seconds – about the amount of time it takes to read a message or an email, according to studies.

raji@gdn.com.bh

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