The word “drowning” can instill fear in a lot of parents, and understandably so. Drowning is something that has taken lives all over the world. The World Health Organization found in 2014 that 372,000 people drown worldwide every year, with most of these numbers coming from lower income nations such as the Philippines.
A Closer Look at the Philippines
In the country, it was estimated at the World Conference on Drowning Prevention that eight people die every day from drowning. While drowning can affect any age, children are more at risk. A survey conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found drowning to be the second leading cause of death for Filipino children below 15 years old. Drowning was also named the fourth leading cause of death from injury.
Many factors surely play into these statistics. The country’s infamous rainy seasons and susceptibility to flash floods have surely added to the number of drowning incidents. Leisure-related activities and other accidents have also added these statistics. For example, Holy Week in 2017 saw dozens of fatalities from several tourists spots such as waterfalls, pools and beach resorts.
Although even skilled swimmers can drown given certain scenarios, it is unfortunate to learn that many Filipinos that drowned (especially in instances of flooding or displacement) did not know how to swim. Even the government has noted this problem, with the introduction of House Bill 3495 last October. If passed, this would require elementary and secondary level schools to have swimming classes.
Reminders for Parents
Drowning is a terrifying idea, however it does not have to stop you or your family from enjoying what swimming has to offer. Here are some safety reminders to keep the whole family safe:
Invest in formal swimming lessons for the family, regardless of age. While children are more at risk, drowning can happen at any age. Swimming is an essential life skill that everyone should be equipped with, and knowing the basics of swimming can significantly lessen one’s chances of drowning.
When children are swimming or playing near a pool, always make sure there is adult supervision. For more pool safety tips, click here.
Open water swimming, such as in the ocean, has its share of drowning risks as well. Beware of currents, marine life, and over fatigue. To learn more about open water swimming, click here.
World Health Organization (2) | Manila Bulletin | GMA | Inquirer