SEVEN boys aged between 10 and 12 drowned at Bukit Beruntung recently. This could have been prevented.
The Perak Clinical Research Centre has conducted extensive research on drowning involving children over the years. The key facts are:
500 children drown every year in Malaysia;
This is the second most common cause of death in children aged 1 to 18; and,
Half of these deaths are due to children trying to save other children.
We have communicated our data, reports and publications to the relevant government agencies, non-governmental organisations and the media. We have also tried to bring it to the attention of all parents.
Our data and efforts have helped in the establishment of a National Drowning Safety Council and, recently, the National Childhood Drowning Registry.
However, the key messages have yet to reach our public. Every parent needs to know the size of this problem and communicate to children that:
No child should attempt to save another child who is drowning;
You are not a hero if you try and save someone who is drowning;
You are not a villain or a failure if you did not try to save someone who is drowning; and,
If you see someone who is drowning, call for an adult to help, don’t jump in yourself.
The media must also refrain from praising a child for saving another child who is drowning. It is dangerous for any child to do so. All parents must speak to their children about this important issue and warn them to get help, not jump in.
DATUK DR AMAR-SINGH HSS
Senior Consultant Paediatrician;
Head, Paediatric Department, Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital;
Head, Clinical Research Centre, Ipoh, Perak