83 percent of parents think that a child cries, screams or shouts when it drowns, according to research by, among others, the knowledge center SafetyNL. But that’s not true: a child usually drowns quickly and without sound.
The knowledge center is starting a campaign to make parents aware of this danger.
Drowning is fast and without sound
In the past ten years, an average of 78 children drowned every year. Three quarters of them are between 0 and 5 years old. Drowning often occurs in inflatable pools, ponds and bathtubs. One in six children does not survive, research shows. Near-drowning can lead to brain damage in severe cases. While many parents are alert to the risk of drowning, many are unaware that children often drown quickly and without sound. Parents assume that children call, scream or cry, but usually children go under quite quickly.
Also read: Experts warn against drowning in natural water: ‘Keep an eye on each other’
Prevent child from drowning
To make parents aware of the dangers, SafetyNL is launching the campaign ‘Kepje onder goes silently and quickly’ together with the National Swimming Safety Council. They also share advice to prevent your child from drowning. The most important? Stay close and don’t get distracted. This proves difficult: 25 percent of parents are still distracted when their child is near water. ‘The 4 of Safe in and around water’ summarizes the advice well.
If my child is near water, then…
- …I make sure I can always see my child
- …I do not allow myself to be unconsciously distracted, for example by my smartphone or book
- …I stay close enough to touch my child
- …I never walk away from my child, not even when the doorbell rings
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