Bathing children: three drownings, what recommendations?

In 2021, there were 1480 accidental drownings in France according to the ninth edition of the Drowning Survey. 22% of these drownings involve children under the age of 6. This 2022 season is likely to be just as deadly, with three cases already mourning the summer break. Update on recommendations for safe swimming as a family.

In France, accidental drowning is responsible for around 1,000 deaths each year (including around 400 in the summer period), making it the leading cause of everyday fatality among people under the age of 25. While the 2022 summer season is in full swing, several cases of drowning already occur during this summer holiday. In July alone, three children, aged 9, 8 and 3, respectively, drowned. For the very young boy, the drama took place in an inflatable swimming pool, filled with only 23 centimeters of water, in the family home. As for the 8-year-old girl, the latter was unfortunately stuck the hair in the drain at the bottom of the swimming pool”, reports Ouest-France. It was also in the swimming pool at a campsite, without swimming supervision, that the nine-year-old boy drowned. However, his grandmother was present on the spot, was not immediately alarmed, fooled by her grandson’s mask and snorkel Three cases that reveal how monitoring children, even the oldest, requires extreme and uninterrupted vigilance.

2021 drowning survey: 27% led to death, 49% in bodies of water

In 2021, the Drowning Survey identified 1,480 accidental drownings, of which 27% resulted in death. Children under 6 accounted for 22% of accidental drownings and 6% of deaths.pp. Regarding the places of drowning, 47% took place at sea, 26% in swimming pools, 23% in streams or bodies of water and 4% in other places (bathtubs, pools, etc.) with a distribution of fatal drownings of 44%, 15%, 39% and 2% respectively. The proportion of deaths is higher in bodies of water (49%) and rivers (41%), while it is 25% at sea, 15% in swimming pools of all types and 14% elsewhere. The drownings in swimming pools involved several young children. Compared to the previous survey conducted in 2018, the number of accidental drownings in 2021 is lower due to less favorable climatic conditions for swimming. If you go on holiday to the sea, or take the children to the swimming pool, summer is an opportunity to remember essential reflexes to avoid any risk of drowning.

Swimming at the beach: what precautions to take with children?

  • Never let your guard down. To the beach, keep an eye on your children at all times and always stay with them when they are playing at the water’s edge or when they are swimming. Put your smartphone away and forget about it.
  • Also pay attention to monitor your child even when the water level is minimal (bathtub, pond, large puddle) due to a small child can drown in 20 cm of water.
  • vshoose swimming areas supervised by lifeguards, where the response from rescue teams is faster. Once again, their supervision should not replace parental supervision.
  • Their indications and their recommendations regarding the water temperature, the current and the fierceness of the waves are also essential and every parent is invited to find out the weather conditions before considering a swim. To do this, you need to rely on the color of the flags (green, orange, red and black).
  • Do not forget to wet your head, neck, stomach and gradually enter the water to avoid thermal shock
  • The European emergency number is 112 and the maritime emergency number is 196.

Swimming in the pool: what recommendations?

  • If this is your own swimming pool, don’t invite too many children your house.
  • Vigilance is essential, especially on festive occasions, even in the presence of several people, where the trap is that everyone thinks the other is watching the pool.
  • Bathe at the same time as your childrenor watch them constantly and carefully
  • Do not be absent, not even for a short time
  • Designate a single person responsible for monitoring to not trust each other. It should be remembered that in 68% of drownings that occurred in an inground family swimming pool, a safety device (barrier, alarm, cover or shelter) was installed. It therefore seems essential to supervise children when swimming in the pool and to define a single responsible adult, at all times, to supervise the child, even if he is wearing an armband.
  • Explain to your child the dangers of water and make sure he wears his armband permanently (CE marking and NF 13138-1 standard) adapted to the child’s size, weight and age. Avoid buoys and other floating objects (boats, mattresses, etc.) that do not protect against drowning.
  • When swimming, remember to pose next to the pool: a pole, a buoy and a telephone if necessary, alert the emergency services as soon as possible.

“When the bath has stopped, as soon as the buoys are removed, dry the child and immediately take him out of the pool. Close the access. Nothing is more tempting for a child than to immediately throw himself back into the water.“warn healthcare personnel in”The guide that protects children and infantsby Harmonie Mutuelles.

Which devices should secure your private pool?

Since 2003, the “Swimming Pool Safety” Act, requires owners to install four devices:

  • approved barriers,
  • covers (floating tarpaulins or pole tarpaulins),
  • shelters (up or down)
  • pool alarms (in accordance with standard NF P90-307-1: 2009).

This safety device has greatly reduced the number of drownings among young children. But even with these elements, active parental vigilance and monitoring should not be reduced. If it’s your pool, don’t invite too many children to swim at the same time. Finally, when your little one is swimming, place a pole, a buoy, and a cell phone near the pool so you can react quickly if necessary. If you have a swimming pool that is not buried in the ground, remember to remove the ladder after each swim to block access.

Teach your child to swim from the age of 6 as far as possible. By supporting him in the water, teaching him how to do the plank or signing him up for lessons in a swimming pool. Summer is the perfect time to make them want to jump in the watersafe!

What is the Aquatic Ease Plan?

The beach trip is an operation initiated by the state’s sports service, which consists of a preventive village built all summer near the beaches on the Atlantic coast.. The program includes information stands, rescue demonstrations, first aid workshops and an incentive to play safe sports. In addition, the government has set up an aquatic ease plan, intended for non-swimmers, set up for toddlers during school and leisure periods with 8 sessions of 40 minutes each. From the age of 6 up to the age of 12, children get a free unit of 10 one-hour sessions to learn to swim. Finally a row 7 tutorials for families, is performed in a swimming pool. Parents can thus teach their child to familiarize themselves with the aquatic environment and feel safer in the water. Info on the website

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