Baby Care

After a two-year-old baby drowns in Northcliff, here are some water safety tips

Last week, a two-year-old baby tragically drowned in a swimming pool in Northcliff.

Sophiatown police spokesperson Captain TJ de Bruyn said, “As soon as the baby was found, an ambulance was called but sadly they could not help the infant was declared dead at the scene.”

Shandre Bridle owns We Swim 4 Life and runs swimming classes in Northcliff and Linden. She is also a life-saving coach and a Swimming South Africa instructor. She said, “Drowning is a silent killer because little ones can’t call for help as they quickly sink to the bottom of the pool. It takes a few short moments for children to drown even if it is in a bucket of water.”

Children are active and inquisitive and can find themselves in trouble if they are not being constantly observed and cared for by an adult.

“If a child is found in trouble, immediately call for help and try to try to get them out of the water, but only if you are a competent swimmer because people helping someone who is drowning often become victims themselves.” She advised using a long pool net pole or another object to fish the person out if at all possible.

She also cautioned against secondary drowning or dry land drowning syndrome which was when someone had been resuscitated or saved after a near drowning but their lungs had retained liquid. “This can kill unexpectedly and quickly when the crisis is thought to have passed. Always seek urgent medical care for all cases that saw an individual inhale water, even if you think they are alright.”

Below are 10 points to bear in mind at all times when a body of water is nearby, even if it is covered with a pool net or surrounded by a fence:

  • Never leave a child unattended when there is water nearby because accidents happen even in places where people think the water is secured from entry. Do not become distracted by a phone call or doorbell unless you can take the child with you to see who is at the gate.
  • Do not leave older children to look after young children.
  • Make sure all bodies of water are secured with a fence or net, and, in the case of buckets, they have a lid on and are out of reach.
  • Do not consume alcohol if you have been asked to monitor people who are swimming or near bodies of water.
  • If swimming in a dam or river, always make sure to check how deep the water is and assess how you would climb out before you enter the water should an emergency happen.
  • Do not swim if you are on medication or have consumed alcohol.
  • Never swim at night or during a storm.
  • Always swim with another person who can call for help if needed.
  • Call 112 in an emergency and get paramedics there as quickly as possible if help is needed.
  • Learn how to do basic CPR to assist a victim while waiting for help to arrive.

Related Article:

Home pool safety tips that you can use to prevent drowning incidents this summer

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