- Special Pages
Children participating in a water safety programme as part of the Kulluna roadshow held at the City Center yesterday. The programme will continue at the City Center until tomorrow and will be held at the Landmark mall from November 9 to 11, between 4pm and 9pm. Abdul Basit
BY FAZEENA SALEEM
DOHA: In unrelated incidents, two children aged below two died tragically in 2011, having drowned in buckets kept outside their ground floor homes to collect water dripping from air-conditioners.
The tragic deaths were part of 25 cases of children drowning that were reported in the country in 2011 — with a majority of them dying. Most incidents of drowning took place in swimming pools and very few in the sea. This was disclosed yesterday by senior public health officials at a news conference held to announce the launch of a health and safety campaign.
Drowning is a leading cause of death and disability among children in the country, said Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) experts. “We received 25 cases of drowning last year. Majority were in private and residential compound swimming pools,” said Dr Khalid Alsadi, Senior Consultant, Paediatric Emergency, at HMC.
“Among these were the two cases of children who drowned in buckets kept outside homes to collect water dripping from the air-conditioners,” said Dr Alsadi, speaking to media at the first ‘Kulluna - for health and safety’ campaign that began at the City Centee.
Kulluna, launched by HMC, is based on the belief that everyone can take action to improve health, wellbeing and safety for themselves, their family and the community at large. The focus of Kulluna in its first phase is on water safety for children.
Majority of drowning occur in and around homes. Children have drowned in swimming pools, baths, fish tanks, buckets and on building sites and sea. Some 80 percent of children drown when no one is watching them. “Drowning is completely preventable. Lack of safety at swimming pools and adult supervisions are major reasons. In all, 70 percent of incidents would not have happened if there were proper safety measurements in place,” said Alsadi. “Currently, we don’t have safety regulations for swimming pools,” he said.
Statistics suggest that 90 percent of drowning cases involve children aged 10 or below, while 70 percent of those are younger than four years old. “The number of children drowning is significant and worrying. Residential compounds with pools are increasing and therefore the risk too,” said Dr Khalid Abdulnoor Saifdeen, Director, Hamad International Training Centre, Senior Consultant, Emergency Medicine, HMC.
Children aged below two are at a higher risk as they have heads proportionately heavier than the rest of their body, so they can easily topple into water. A child can drown in less than two minutes in as little as 5cm of water in absolute silence. Children who receive resuscitation quickly at the scene of the accident have better chance of survival, according to healthcare experts.
“Not every child who drown will die, but they could become disabled for long time due to brain damage or spinal code damage,” explained Rafael J Consunji, Consultant, Injury prevention Director, Trauma Surgery Section, Department of Surgery, HMC.
Constant supervision, installing a barrier to prevent direct and unintentional access to sources of water by children, educating children on swimming and appointing sufficient life guards are suggested as precautions to prevent children drowning.
The first Kulluna road show will be held at the City Center till tomorrow and at Landmark from November 9 to November 11 between 4pm and 9pm each day. Parents will be able to speak with medical professionals and there will be interactive games for the children featuring safety heroes Salem and Salma, the Kulluna campaign mascots.