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Prevent Drowning With These Tips From Affinity Health

As families head to coastal holidays, pool parties and fun water parks, Affinity Health reminds everyone to keep drowning prevention top of mind.


What Are the Chances of Drowning in South Africa?

Did you know that drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide? and the second leading cause of accidental death in South Africa, many of whom are children under the age of five.


According to local statistics, about 600 children and 200 adults die each year, with the highest drowning cases in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Gauteng, and the Western Cape, followed by the Free State, Eastern Cape, and Limpopo. While drownings can happen all year round, cases peak during summer, by 63 percent in comparison to other seasons.


One of the greatest dangers that families living in cities need to navigate is making their swimming pool child safe – one in five fatal drownings happen in home pools.


Rural communities, in particular, are vulnerable to drownings in farm dams, rivers, and streams. Without formal swimming skills, people too often find themselves in trouble.


Those living in and around coastal and inland waters, and those holidaying at beaches, are at a high risk of drowning due to rip currents.


A rip is an area that is often without wave activity and appears darker and deceptively calmer than the rest of the ocean. These currents move fast and can be deadly, as panicked swimmers usually try to counter them by swimming straight back to shore – putting themselves at risk of drowning because of fatigue.


However, drownings don’t only occur in swimming pools, lakes, or oceans. Any body of water poses a drowning risk.


In fact, children can drown in less than six centimetres of water. That means a baby, infant, or toddler can drown in a sink, toilet bowl, fountain, fishpond, bucket, inflatable pool, or small bodies of standing water around your home, such as a ditch or drain filled with rainwater.


How then can we prevent drownings from taking place? According to Affinity Health, the best way is to always have safety in mind when you and your family are in or near water.


How To Prevent Drowning

  • To keep yourself and your loved ones safe in and near the water, follow these guidelines:
  • Learn to swim, regardless of your age. Adult swim lessons are available in addition to children’s sessions.
  • Every swimming pool should be entirely enclosed with a safety fence and covered with a pool net. Pool fence gates should always be locked, and keys should be kept out of reach of children.
  • Remove any toys, balls, or floating devices that may draw children to the pool area.
  • When your child is swimming or playing with or around water, make sure he or she is supervised by a competent adult you know and trust.
  • Adults who are observing children in or near water should avoid distractions such as reading, talking on the phone, or drinking alcohol because drowning occurs swiftly and quietly.
  • Never leave your child alone in or near water, or in the care of another child.
  • Do not rely on air-filled armbands or foam toys (pool noodles) to prevent drownings.
  • Learn and practice cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other life-saving methods. Knowing how to perform CPR on someone who is drowning could mean the difference between life and death.
  • Be prepared and know what to do in the event of an emergency. All emergency numbers should be saved on your mobile or kept close for quick access.
  • When holidaying at the coast, choose beaches that have lifeguards and walled tidal pool, and stick within dedicated swimming areas.
  • If you are at the beach and encounter someone who is in danger of drowning, immediately notify the lifeguard on duty.
  • For persons of all ages and swimming abilities, life jackets lessen the risk of drowning when boating and should always be worn.
  • Before swimming in a lake, river, or ocean, always check the weather forecast. Local meteorological conditions can abruptly shift, resulting in severe flash floods, strong winds, rough waves, and thunderstorms with lightning.
  • Swimming should be avoided if you are using medications (over-the-counter or prescribed) that affect your balance, coordination, or judgment.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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