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Graphic Water Safety Ads Could Save Lives - Jim Higgins MEP

26th July 2011
Graphic Water Safety Ads Could Save Lives - Jim Higgins MEP
Drowning is frighteningly the second cause of death and injury for children in the EU, the primary causes are inability to swim and alcohol induced poor supervision of children - particularly on holidays. "We must remember that children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water and they drown in silence."

"Water is our most valuable and deadly resource. On average 150 people drown in Ireland each year. Most of these tragic deaths happen inland, in rivers or lakes or around farms and homes."

"These accidents are completely preventable and usually stem from a lack of awareness of basic water safety principles. All too often water safety education is confined to sea bordering communities this must clearly change."

"I have written to Minister Quinn proposing that water safety education be as prevalent in national schools as the 'safe cross code.'

Adolescents under the influence of alcohol and males over the age of sixty-five are also in the high risk category "thus highlighting the need for adult water safety courses."

Thankfully the average drowning figures in Ireland have decreased from 173 people in the late 1990's and early 2000's despite the increased popularity of water sports. Higgins commended the work of the Irish Water Safety Organisation & Simon Coveney who recently launched the 'Wearing a Lifejacket May Save Your Life,' "this is exactly the type of initiative that is needed, but we need to go even further in order to spread the water safety message to ordinary swimmers."

Despite the recent reduction in drowning incidents our attention must remain with the 150 lives needlessly lost. "These deaths are 100% preventable and everybody needs to assume responsibility to ensure that they are informed about water safety practices and that they in turn inform or responsibly supervise their children."

"I am calling for the introduction of powerful, strong and graphic ads similar to those issued by the RSA so that the dangers of water are not ignored."

Higgins continued to emphasis that basic advice available online or from local swimming pools could save lives and help us ensure that we go further than the current 20% reduction in drowning accidents."

Further information:

Irish Water Safety Guide to Safe Swimming:

  • Do not swim alone
  • Do not swim just after eating
  • Do not swim when you are hot or tired
  • Do not swim in strange places
  • Do not swim out after anything drifting
  • Do not swim out to sea
  • Do not stay in the water too long
  • Swim parallel and close to the shore
  • Do what the lifeguard tells you
  • Never use inflatable toys
  • Pay attention to signs on the beach
  • Do not be a bully
  • Learn to use equipment before trying it out
Published in Water Safety Team

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