More parents send children to learn swimming as drowning topping cause of deaths among youths under 15

With growing concern of drowning being the  top cause of deaths among Thai youths under 15 years old, now parents are sending their children to take swimming course to prevent tragedies.

Study by the Child Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Centre of Ramathibodi Hospital revealed that more than 1,400 youths under 15 years old died from drowning each year, or an average four deaths a day, becoming the top cause of deaths of children.

The death figures doubled the deaths of youths from road mishaps, it said.

This prompted the need to encourage parents to send their children to attend swimming courses, particularly during the long summer holidays when schools closes and children have no places to go, forcing them to go out swimming in public ponds, canals to enjoy themselves..

In Phitsanulok province, many schools now have opened swimming courses for children to learn how to swim properly during the summer holiday from March to May.

The opening of the swimming courses has attracted many parents to send their children to learn.

Parents worried that leaving their  children at homes alone  might  force them to go out swimming in public ponds, canals without asking permission from them.

And this might lead to tragedy if their children have no swimming skills, or can’t swim.

A swimming teacher Chaovisit Manmketarakit said teachers will teach them how to swim and how to save their lives in case of accident.

But knowing how to swim isn’t enough as when children learn how to swim, they will have more courage to swim .

So they are prone to higher risk if they don’t know where they can swim or should avoid in case of strong current, or even jump to the water from the bridge  which is dangerous if they have no skills, he  said.

The swimming course will teach how to swim and how to save life, he said.

Earlier the Ministry of Public Health said children aged between five and nine make up the highest percentage of deaths. Drowning is most frequently reported during summer and semester breaks.

Also the Disease Control Department recently released another worrisome data showing that each drowning incident often took more than one life as children, who saw their playmate going under water often jumped into the water to help their friend who did not know how to swim..

According to the Department, about 23 percent of Thai children aged below 15 know how to swim. Only four percent, however, know how to survive water accidents, NNT reported.