Poolside drowning in South Africa: how to prevent tragedy

by Liam

Literally a new born parent’s nightmare. I’m sure we’re all familiar with or have heard of people whom have went through this kind of emergency.

Drowning, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is “…the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in liquid.” While drowning your movement becomes limited and you are mostly inaudible whilst submerged under water — in some cases, you might be completely alone.

(Drowning claims over 40 people every hour in ‘needless loss of life’ by the United Nations.)

As illustrated above, drowning is one of the leading causes of infant or minor mortality and accidental death. The number of children who don’t have the ability to swim can be described as nothing short than alarming. But please take note that drowning doesn’t only occur in children, but in adults too.

Some tips when faced with poolside drowning emergency:

Someone drowning — regardless of whether they’re a minor or adult — can only battle the surface of the water for about 30 to 60 seconds. This does not offer much of a window to save someone’s life, but it is imperative that there is a instant response: it goes without saying that emergency services should be notified with immediate effect.

After someone is rescued from drowning but is still not breathing, one may try to resuscitate the victim using first aid mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. But remember to be very careful whilst performing this — there may be bodily fractures or internal injuries the victim may have received.

If you are fortunate enough to be rescued, you may experience short team repercussions. This would include respiratory difficulty, disorientation, regurgitation or even falling into unconsciousness.

Further, there are a number of complications you may experience in the long term. Some of these complications include: pneumonia, brain damage, minimally conscious state, fluid leaking into lungs causing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

(Drowning claims over 40 people every hour in ‘needless loss of life’ by the United Nations.)

Some tips to prevent or minimise poolside drowning:

  • Adults are encouraged to constantly supervise minor(s) that are swimming, under any circumstance, until they has been safely removed from the water.
  • Avoid driving or being around any flooded areas due to heavy rain or river bursts
  • Do not leave any children or individuals with swimming disabilities unsupervised.
  • Avoid getting heavily intoxicated before boating or swimming.
  • It is encouraged that children are motivated by parents to complete a swimming course or alternatively be taught at home.
  • At the end of the day, just remember to stay safe out there.

Our mission here at CAN is ultimately to provide the best and most reliable emergency services. We want to be there for you in your hour of need — for any kind of emergency — so please do not hesitate to reach out to us: 011 801 0000.

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