Parents warned to be vigilant against childhood drownings

4 December 2017

Parents are being cautioned that constant adult supervision is the only way to keep their children safe around water in a bid to reduce the number of childhood drownings this summer.

Children’s Health Queensland this week launched the second video in the ‘#ittakesseconds’ awareness campaign on social media, after 54 children were treated at Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) following a drowning incident in 2017. Sadly, two of these children passed away.

During the warmer months (Dec 2016 – Jan 2017), the QCH saw a peak in presentations with 28 children being treated in Emergency following an immersion in a pool, dam, spa or at the beach.

Pools were the most common danger site in Queensland for children aged five and under, accounting for 20 presentations or 70 per cent of total presentations.

Across Australia, drownings continue to be the leading cause of death for children aged between one and 14 with 36 children passing away following a drowning incident in 2016. Of these, eight occurred in Queensland (Source: ABS).

Queensland Children’s Hospital Paediatric Intensive Care Specialist Dr Adrian Mattke said many of these tragic accidents could often be prevented.

“Parents tell us that they only walked away for a moment or that they were distracted by phones,” Dr Mattke said.

“The key message we want to get out there is it only takes seconds for a child to drown. Young children have small lungs and they can’t hold their breath very long. So if they go under water, they can drown in a matter of seconds.

“If you look away for a second – to grab a towel, read a message on your phone or check your Facebook page – that’s when it can happen.

Queenslanders are being asked to visit the Children’s Health Queensland Facebook page , Twitter page and You Tube channel and share the #ittakesseconds video to help spread this important message.

The ‘#ittakesseconds’ awareness campaign is proudly supported by the Children’s Hospital Foundation.