Tips to help avoid drowning

While the country has been vigilant about the number of Covid-19 cases, another figure that has also been rising is the number of drownings in the country.

STAY SAFE: Pools should have secure gates and nets to avoid accidental drownings
Picture: PIXABAY

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) reports that more than 2,000 people die from drowning each year, 600 of these being children.

People who live away from the coast are also at risk of drowning and water safety should also be uppermost in people’s minds.

Consider those containers of stored, washing or bath water.

They could be a death trap to a curious toddler, who can fall in and drown even in a few centimeters of water.

It can happen quickly, before you even notice.

Seal, empty or place these containers out of reach of children. Make sure you have all you need before bathing babies or young children so that you never have to leave them alone to fetch something elsewhere in the house.

Young children should always be within sight or hearing of an adult.

People who have swimming pools should ensure that gates to the pool are secure and nets are installed. Even children who can swim must be supervised.

Collecting water and doing washing should not have to end in a fatality like it has already done for many others this year alone.

Be vigilant. Know where the people are that you came to a river or dam with, particularly young children who can so quickly wander off.

Constantly be aware of how safe you are by checking the water depth around you. Beware as rocks may be slipperly.

A familiar river can become extremely dangerous when it is in flood. With the dirty water, it becomes difficult to see where you are stepping.

You could step into a hole, become unbalanced by stepping onto debris like falling branches or slide on a slippery rock.

The water also moves with so much force that you can very quickly be carried away.

Should anyone fall into the water, do not enter to try and rescue them. Too often, a person drowns too when they are trying to save a friend.

It is safer to rather use a stick that they can hold onto while you pull them out. You can also throw something for them to grab like an item of clothing or a towel.

An item that floats, like an empty or seald plastic container, works well too.

Know the emergency number 112 and, where possible, learn CPR.

Sea Rescue water safety instructors, who are present in some provinces, usually go out into schools and communities to do water safety presentations.

For more information, contact Slindile Fortunate Mthethwa at 060-04-5232 or fortunate@searescue.org.za.

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