ECSA Partners participate in drowning and rescue simulation


On June 18, The Spanish Association for Accident Victims (Asociacion Estatal de Victim de Accidentes) and Summa 112 emergency services held a drowning and rescue simulation in Madrid in order to call attention to the long standing problem of pool drownings in Spain, and to advocate for the adoption of goog practices such as pool fencing.

Many ECSA country partners attended the event, which was widely publicised by national newspaper, radio and television media.

Dr Francisco Canes

Each year in Spain between 120 – 150 children drown on beaches, pools, rivers and reservoirs. 60% of children who survive drowning incidents are left with severe disabilities. Children most at risk are between 1 – 4 years of age. In the case of child drownings near home, 23% of small children who drowned were not actually swimming at the time of the incident, rather they had been playing on a porch or in a yard, and then wandered into the water.

Spain with its warm climate and strong tourism culture has over 700,000 pools. This is a number greater than any other European country with the exception of France, where national legislation requiring safety measures around private pools is already in place. 86% of child drownings in Spain take place in private pools. Yet private pools are not required to use 4 sided fencing with a self locking gate, which is proven to be the most effective method to prevent drownings.

Francisco Canes, President of The Spanish Association for Accident Victims, stressed that while fencing is the best proven preventive measure, there remains further need for constant supervision of children, as well as swim lessons for children, abstaining from alcohol while swimming or supervising children near water, and maintaining extra vigilance while on holiday. Furthermore, it is recommended that all parents and caregivers learn CPR techniques, as every minute after a drowning rescue counts toward minimising the risk of permanent disability.

Dr. Jorge Parise, Spain's representative to the Alliance, paediatric surgeon and director of Sociedad Espanola de Cirugia Infantil, emphasised that children of the youngest years are at greatest risk for drownings in private pools, and that this often happens silently, and in less than a few minutes. For this reason, the event was held in a small private pool, which best represents the most common child drowning scenario.

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