Children are most at risk from accidents in or near water. Around 400 people in the UK die each year from drowning as a result of an accident in or around water.
Shockingly, one person drowns every 20 hours in the UK and hundreds more suffer life-changing injuries through near drowning.
And it is children who are at the most risk. Drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in children. Youngsters aged between one and four years of age have the highest drowning rates, followed by children aged five to nine.
There are many reasons why young children are more likely to be injured or killed in a drowning incident. Toddlers seem to have a fascination with water and may not understand the dangers. Young children can easily wander off without their parents or guardians realising they’re missing. Some children may not have been taught to swim yet while others might take unnecessary risks or act recklessly playing in and around the water.
Regardless of the reason, a drowning or near drowning incident can be absolutely devastating. If it isn’t fatal, it can leave a child with severe and often permanent, life-changing injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury.
Drowning Prevention Week begins this Friday (16 June 2017) until Monday 26 June 2017 aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of drowning.
The objective of the national campaign from the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is to spread water safety advice far and wide.
It aims to encourage schools, clubs, leisure centres and communities to promote water safety through events, lessons, games and activities in a bid to make people more aware of the dangers of water and teach them how to stay safe near water.
Sadly, as a law firm, we have helped families left devastated by the consequences of drowning and near drowning incidents over the years.
One such recent tragic case involved a young boy, aged just four years old, who almost drowned at a swimming pool party in a friend’s garden, sustaining catastrophic brain damage. To this day, he remains in a minimally conscious state, unable to move or swallow.
We’ve secured substantial compensation for the family and they’ve purchased a new specially adapted home to meet their son’s needs. Their new house has widened doors for wheelchair access, a sensory room with special visual and audio stimulus, a therapy room for physiotherapy and medical treatments and hoists and tracking systems to move him around the house with ease.
This case and tragedies like this, serve as a warning to everyone that disaster can strike quickly and at any time. Constant vigilance is needed when young children are playing in or near water.
In particular, children under eight years old should be supervised at all times – even if they have been warned of the dangers and might understand instructions – they are likely to forget if they are having fun or are excited.
It’s our hope that water safety campaigns, like Drowning Prevention Week, will help to remind adults and children alike of the dangers of water, particularly as the weather gets warmer and the holiday season gets underway.
If you’d like to support the RLSS UK’s awareness week, visit http://www.rlss.org.uk/water-safety/drowning-prevention-week/. You can also use the hash tags #DPW and #STOPDROWNING on social media.