About two people drown every day in South Africa and nearly half of them are children, Swimming SA has said.
The organisation said that these statistics came from the recently released ninth annual report of the national injury mortality surveillance system. The system is co-directed by the Medical Research Council and the University of SA.
"Of the 652 drowning deaths that were recorded during 2007, 44% were children under the age of 14." A total of 144 children were four years or younger.
SSA said children under 14 most often died from pedestrian
fatalities, drowning and burning. Drowning was the leading cause of death when transport-related fatalities were excluded.
SSA's Learn to Swim programme manager Easlyn Young said children needed to be taught to swim. "Every adult, who can swim, is a potential swimming instructor."
Young said SSA said adults could be trained by programmes, to teach children basic water safety and survival and recovery skills in the event of an accident. "Death by drowning is a tragic and often silent reality, but we can stop the scourge of drowning by teaching our children to swim," she said. – (Sapa, December 2008)
Drowning first aid
Kids, water and drowning