Netcare 911 has issued a stern warning to communities to safeguard young children to prevent drownings.
This comes after a toddler drowned in a fish pond in Morningside, Sandton yesterday. Netcare 911 spokesperson, Athlenda Mathe, says the young girl was declared dead on the scene by paramedics from the provincial emergency services. The police investigation continues.
Mathe shares a few safety tips that can be implemented to prevent children from drowning. She says most importantly children need to learn to swim at an early age. It is also important for them to be trained in survival skills such as floating and treading water.
She advises parents and child minders to ensure the gate leading to a pool or a fish pond has a self-latching mechanism. Safety covers must used for pools not in use as well as other water sources.
Constant supervision by an adult is a necessity. Avoid using flotation toys as life preservers. Never assume your child is drown-proof even if they can swim.
She adds toys from a pool when children are finished swimming must be removed to avoid them from recovering it unsupervised. Empty all water from a wading pool when not in use.
Other useful safety tips outdoors include that people should not rely solely on the protection of buoyancy aids such as inflatable wings and tubes. Children should not take part in boisterous play in or near water.
A dam wall or an area surrounding a swimming pool is no place to ride a bicycle. Mathe says children should practice coping in water with their clothes on and never dive or jump into water they are unfamiliar with.
Mathe says small children should never be left alone in the bath. Another indoor safety tip is to use a non-slip mat in a bath. Full baths, tubs and other containers should be emptied or kept behind locked doors. Never use a bathtub seat or supporting ring without constant adult supervision because it can overturn or a baby can slip into the water.