Warning to parents as hospital reveals rise in child drowning figures


Queensland families are being urged to stay vigilant about water safety during the summer school holidays after a tragic year in which a Brisbane hospital has already seen more fatal child drownings than the previous two.

The Queensland Children's Hospital has seen seven fatal drownings so far in 2019, with 67 children treated in the emergency department and 12 admitted to the intensive care unit.

This represented an increase from four fatal drownings in 2018 and just two in 2017.

Dr Adrian Mattke, a paediatric intensive care specialist at the hospital, said constant adult supervision was the only way to prevent the tragic accidents.

"Parents often tell us that they only walked away for a moment or that they were momentarily distracted by their phones," Dr Mattke said. "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 silently in a matter of seconds."

More than a third of childhood drowning incidents occur between the months of December and February.

Swimming pools are the most common location for drownings in Queensland, accounting for almost 80 per cent of emergency presentations during summer.

The number of drowning presentations to QCH had grown each year from 2015 to a high of 78 in 2017. A total of 63 children presented to the emergency department last year.

The tragic number of fatal drownings this year is the highest since 2015, when nine children died after presenting to the hospital.

More than a third of childhood drowning incidents occur between the months of December and February.

Swimming pools are the most common location for drownings in Queensland, accounting for almost 80 per cent of emergency presentations during summer.

The number of drowning presentations to QCH had grown each year from 2015 to a high of 78 in 2017. A total of 63 children presented to the emergency department last year.

The tragic number of fatal drownings this year is the highest since 2015, when nine children died after presenting to the hospital.

(Source)