Six in 10 drownings take place in swimming pools, reveals study in Oman

Oman Sunday 23/January/2022 23:45 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: Nearly six out of 10 drowning incidents that occur in Oman take place in swimming pools, a new study conducted in the country shows.

Conducted by four medical researchers at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), the study shows that 59.4 percent of all patients who were brought in for emergency care because of drowning related incidents, had been swimming in pools when they started to drown.

Compiled by Niranjan Lal Jeswani, Abdullah Al Reesi and Muhammad Faisal Khilji of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, and Syed Rizvi of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at SQU, the study analysed the conditions of 74 patients. 54 of them were male, and 47 were aged six and under.

As part of their study, the researchers also provided suggestions over how drowning incidents can be overcome.

“Our study suggests that children, especially males under the age of six with no swimming ability, need strict supervision next to bodies of water,” they said in their report. “Furthermore, preventive measures might include raising community awareness about the risk factors of drowning, commencing public CPR lessons, and strict pool safety regulation by related authorities.”

The researchers observed in their report that drowning is a neglected public health problem, and a   significant cause of disability and death among children. It is the third major cause of accidental injuries and deaths, and is responsible for seven percent of all injury-related deaths globally.

The study covered two infants (aged between one and 12 months), 30 toddlers (between the ages of one and three years), 15 preschoolers (aged between four and six), 17 children of school-going age (aged between seven and 14), and 10 adolescents.

The patient details were taken from drowning-related admissions made in the emergency department over a 10-year period from January 2008 to December 2017.

A majority of those admitted for drowning-related medical emergencies – 69 people – made a full recovery after being administered medical attention, while three became brain-dead and two were left with severe neurological injury, as a result of their drowning.

Other relevant details published in the study show that most of the drowning incidents (68 out of 74) took place in the evening. The most common areas where people experienced drowning were public swimming pools, where 38 incidents took place, followed by the sea, where 17 people required rescue after drowning. Irina Samakar, a swim coach at Nautilus Swimming Club, said that the best way for people to prevent themselves from drowning was to learn swimming, irrespective of their age.

“Many disasters are unexpected and unpredictable,” she explained. “Learning how to swim is a preventive measure. Add to it the additional health benefits one gets while swimming: it is good for your heart, lungs, prevents diabetes, removes stress, and builds endurance and muscle strength. There are also many healthcare workers who learn to swim with us, so that they can be of assistance to others if needed.”

To inform people about the dangers of drowning and where they can most commonly occur, the Civil Defence and Ambulance Authority (CDAA) regularly puts out advice for people to follow. According to the CDAA, dams, ponds, beaches, wadis, and water springs are areas where people are most susceptible to drowning. People who attempt to navigate flash floods on foot are also extremely vulnerable to being overwhelmed by the water.