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Drowning alert as summer heats up

Health watchdog says this summer will see 50 pool deaths - with children at risk

AS THE summer holidays get into full swing, parents, pool owners and local authorities have been warned that despite security precautions France still sees around 50 drowning deaths each summer in swimming pools.

A report by the Health Ministry watchdog Institut de Veille Sanitaire said drowning was a major risk, despite the presence of lifeguards and other security measures.

In the past two weeks a five-year-old boy drowned in a pool accident in Saint-Quentin-en-Yveline and in the same period a 61-year-old British tourist drowned in Lac Annecy and two men drowned in the sea at Messanges (Landes) and Vendays-Montalivet (Gironde). Yesterday a 25-year-old woman died in the Lac de Paladru, near Charavines in Isère.

The institute said in its report Noyades 2012 that since the beginning of June alone 137 people had died by drowning in pools, lakes and the sea.

Each year there were more than 1,300 drowning deaths - with nearly 200 of these being youngsters under the age of six and it warned that every child death was due to a failure of supervision.

Virginie Taverne, of the national association for the prevention of accidents in public pools (ANPAP), told Le Figaro: "Drowning in swimming pools is a public health problem. There is a minimum of one lifeguard in each pool, and generally three, but when the pool is busy, human capability falls due to blindspots in the pool, shadows, reflections and the constant noise and heat."

Now some surveillance camera systems for public pools can help save lives by spotting when a swimmer has not moved for several seconds and alerting lifeguards. The cost can be the same as for a waterslide.
Photo: Geo087-Wikipedia

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