Thursday 14 December 2017

Editorial: Don't let your warm summer end in tragedy

The danger from drowning cannot be ignored any longer. THINKSTOCK IMAGES
The danger from drowning cannot be ignored any longer. THINKSTOCK IMAGES

THE sun shines and we're happy, heading off to the beach, the swimming spot on the river, the favourite part of the lake. Yet just when conditions are so idyllic, danger lurks where we least expect it. In the past 10 years, more than 40 children under 14 have drowned in Ireland – put in perspective, that is well over a classroom of children who never got to enjoy or fulfil their adult years, who left behind parents that will never forget the day their lives changed forever. The families and friends are left grieving over a tragic loss, which in many cases could have been prevented.

We often associate drowning with the cruel sea and mid-winter storms, but the fact is that 80pc of drownings happen inland, in lakes and rivers and there is a spike in tragedy when the sun shines and the good weather arrives.

There is also a contrast between the perception and drama of the drowning we see on television or in films and reality.

In real life, there is rarely splashing – children, especially, can drown almost silently, quickly and in very little water.

When water is involved, a happy family outing can turn to the most appalling tragedy within moments.

Of course it isn't only children who drown. The figures for 2012, the last year for which statistics are available, reveal that 65 people drowned accidentally, with a further 33 dying of "undetermined" causes, while a further 49 were recorded as suicide.

Water is literally all around us; it is dangerous and never more so than right now.

We all need to be vigilant, especially in these balmy days of mid-summer.

Irish Independent

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