Drowning is 'top killer' of kids under 15

Drowning is 'top killer' of kids under 15

Students from Phitsanulok's Chat Trakan district learn how to swim at a waterfall in their area in May 2014. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Students from Phitsanulok's Chat Trakan district learn how to swim at a waterfall in their area in May 2014. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Drowning is the leading cause of death of Thai children aged under 15 years, with about three drownings a day in recent years, the Ministry of Public Health's figures reveal.

The ministry's deputy permanent secretary and spokesman, Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, yesterday said a ministry survey indicated the number of child drownings peaks in October, with the reason for the increase attributed to the school break at the peak of the rainy season when children go swimming and are prone to being swept away by currents and floods.

Data for the month of October, for the years 2006 to 2015, indicated a total of 1,101 children had drowned.

However, drownings during October last year fell by half compared to 2014.

So far this October, 327 children have drowned.

Dr Suwanchai said drownings mostly occurred during school holidays which fall during the rainy season as many children gather to swim at rivers, ponds and creeks, unsupervised by parents.

However, the children usually have no idea how deep the water is or how fast the currents are.

In a bid to prevent drownings, Dr Suwanchai advised the private and public sectors and local communities to consider precautionary measures against water-related accidents.

He suggested warning signs and barriers should be erected and children always be supervised when they go swimming.

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