Drowning is the leading cause of death in children in Bangladesh and claims the lives of approximately 50 children a day. It is a massive and largely under-reported issue. The Centre for Injury Prevention, Health Development and Research, Bangladesh are making the first steps to reducing the horrific drowning toll in Bangladesh and other similar-risk environments.

Drowning in Bangladesh

•        Drowning deaths claim 20,685 lives each year
•        Approximately 18,000 children under the age of 18 drown each year
•        This equates to approximately 50 children a day
•        More than 80% of the drowning occurs in natural bodies of water (ditches, ponds and canals) less than 20 metres from    the house
•        Most drowning occurs in rural areas during the day between 9am-2pm when the mother is busy with housework or other chores and the child is left unsupervised.

How to prevent drowning

•        People of all ages should learn how to swim – swimming is immunization against drowning
•        Learn resuscitation (CPR) and rescue skills
•        Do not dive or jump into waters of unknown depth, this can result in severe spinal or head injuries
•        Children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Cover all wells, tubs or large containers or empty them. Always supervise children while they are swimming
•        If possible fence off paths to waterways or erect fencing around ponds

How to perform CPR

•           Step 1 – Check for responsiveness by shaking and shouting at the victim. If unresponsive (doesn’t respond to shouts or shakes) and not breathing, call your local hospital and begin CPR.
•           Step 2 – Tilt the head back and listen for breathing. If not breathing normally, pinch nose and cover the mouth with yours and blow until you see the chest rise. Give 2 breaths. Each breath should take 1 second.
•           Step 3 – If the victim is still not breathing normally, coughing or moving, begin chest compressions. Push down on the chest 1 ½ to 2 inches, 30 times right between the nipples. Pump at the rate of 100/minute, faster than once per second.
•           Continue with 2 breaths and 30 pumps until help arrives.
•           Teach children to shout out for help if they are in trouble in the water. Teach them that if someone else is in trouble do not try to save them but shout for the nearest adult.

Source: Bangladesh Health and Injury Survey, 2005

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