It takes two centimeters of water and two minutes without supervision for a child to drown

S. F.




The First National Report on Drowning of Minors has ensured that drowning is the second cause of accidental infant death, “alarming data knowing that almost all of it is preventable”, according to Dr. Manuel Baca, head of the Pediatric Service of the Hospital Quirónsalud Málaga .

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in the world 236,000 people die each year from drowning and “the greatest risk is in children, with 70 percent of drowning victims under the age of six», Says Dr. Baca, relying on data from the Spanish Pediatric Association.

Specifically, Ep reports, in our country in the last five years more than 100 minors have died. Four out of every five minors who died from drowning were not supervised and, according to the First National Report on the Drowning of Minors, “the majority of the deceased are children between two and four years old and in an unsupervised environment, mainly private swimming pools.” Therefore, and given the risk involved, the Pediatric Service of the Hospital Quirónsalud Málaga recommends “special alert, especially during the summer.”

«Not only in sea and swimming pool, You also have to be careful with containers in which liquid can be stored, such as buckets, bathtubs or portable swimming pools.Since it only takes two centimeters of water and two minutes without supervision for a little one to drown ”, recalled the pediatrician.

“The main thing is continuous supervision, but another additional precaution is that all children take swimming lessons as a way to add another layer of safety in the water,” has recommended the head of Pediatrics at the center.

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In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises the use of “layers or levels” of protection. “When children are playing in or around water, it is essential to supervise them closely and constantly, but also certain barriers can help prevent tragedies during short and unavoidable periods of supervision, which are a normal part of everyday life.”

A) Yes, “The installation of fences or closures can prevent more than half of the drownings of young children in swimming pools”, warns Manuel Baca. In addition, “the toys will be kept out of the pool area so that the children are not curious and try to cross the barrier to reach them.”

We must also be careful with the digestion or hydrocution cut-off, which «occurs as a consequence of a sudden change in temperature when entering precipitously in cold water, causing a narrowing of the blood vessels and, therefore, making the blood flow more slowly to the brain, which can lead to fainting, ”explains the doctor.

Urgent measures against drowning

In the case of a baby, the child should be picked up once out of the water, seek immediate help or transfer the child to the nearest hospital. In addition, “to reduce the risk of breathing in water, it is important to keep your head lower than the rest of your body and to check if you breathe spontaneously. Otherwise, give him artificial respiration (mouth to mouth) », the pediatrician warned.

If it is an older child, in shallow water and if the child is not breathing, hold the body with one arm and the head with the other hand, closing the nose when mouth-to-mouth. “Transfer the injured person to shore, ask for help and continue with the resuscitation maneuvers, also check the pulse and if it is absent, perform cardiac massage.”

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In the event that the child begins spontaneous breathing and pulsing, he will be placed in a lateral decubitus position with the inner arm flexed at right angles to the body and the back of the hand under the cheek. The leg of the internal side extended and the other bent. “If the minor does not respond, he will be transferred to the nearest hospital, without interrupting the artificial respiration and cardiac massage maneuvers until reaching the destination,” the doctor has advised to avoid a greater evil.

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