Increase in near-drownings

WATCHING children as they play near water has never been more important with an increase in near-drownings reported throughout Queensland.

Although Cairns, the Gold Coast and Logan have been the hot-spots for near-drownings, the Fraser Coast has also had several incidents in the past year, highlighting the need to take care in the water and keep a watchful eye on kids whether at the beach or by the family pool.

Three near-drowing presentations on the Fraser Coast involved two children under four and one person aged 25 to 29.

Since June, there has also been one immersion presentation of a child under four at Hervey Bay Hospital.

Hervey Bay Hospital emergency medicine director Paul de Jong said a worrying aspect of this year’s statistics was a jump in immersion incidents involving children under five.

“In 2008-09 there were 94 near-drowning presentations (involving children under five years old) to Queensland Health emergency departments,” Dr de Jong said.

“Since June this year there have already been 56 presentations throughout Queensland in this age group.

“If this continues, unfortunately there will be more near-drowning incidents in this age group than the previous year.

“This is a very worrying trend and it shows that some people are still not taking the water safety message to heart, especially where children are concerned.”

Dr de Jong said that even an inflatable pool could be deadly for small children.

“It can take less than two minutes and only one litre of water for a child to drown.

“Some important things that parents and carers can do to keep kids safe around pools is always supervise children in swimming pools and make sure the pool is properly fenced and maintained,” Dr de Jong added.

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