Lifestyle

7 Things To Know About Water Safety Especially for Kids

Water activities are popular among holiday goers. These water safety tips could help get you out of trouble especially during monsoon season.

white sandy beach with clear blue water in a sunny day

Malaysia is surrounded with beautiful sandy white beaches, crystal clear streams and rivers, as well as stunning waterfalls in almost every state within the country. Even as Malaysians, we always make time to escape the bustling city and head down to the nearest waterfall to plunge into the refreshingly cold water.

However, with our nation’s tropical climate, we are faced with two monsoon seasons every year. Monsoon season is a period where a country is characterized by heavy rainfall, which typically happens to an area with a large landmass meeting major oceans.

According to the Meteorological Department, the monsoon season in Malaysia is expected to begin on 3rd November 2021 and continue until March 2022.

If you are living in Malaysia, you can expect to experience several series of heavy rains, especially in the east coast states of the Peninsula, west Sarawak, and east Sabah in November and December 2021.

Meanwhile starting January 2022, some areas in the north and West Coast of the Peninsula such as Perlis, Kedah, Penang, and Hulu Perak are expected to receive slightly above average rainfall. This will be followed by heavy rainfall nationwide which is expected to last between February and March 2022. (Source: MET Department, 2021)

How bad is the drowning situation in Malaysia?

According to recent statistics, the number of drowning cases tends to rise during the monsoon season. It was reported that in 2020, at least one person in Malaysia dies every day from drowning – a figure reported to be four times higher than death caused by fire.

From the statistic shared by the Director General of the Fire and Rescue Department, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hamdan Wahid, there were 350 deaths by drowning from water activities at five major water sources namely sea, river, water lines, beaches and waterfalls. The statistic collected were throughout the year, not only during monsoon season.

Water activities mainly involve activities such as open water swimming, indoor swimming, boating or rafting, and the normal splashing and dipping around. Although you may find these water activities popular around the country, they are not without any risk.

What are the preventive steps that could avoid drowning incidents?

Little girl holding an umbrella in the rain while playing by the water. Photo created by rawpixel.com.
Little girl playing by the water

1. Keep a close eye on the kids

The first thing to keep in mind is to teach your kids to ask for permission before they go into the water, even if it’s just going into the wading pool or the kids’ pool. If your kids are too young to ask, that means they should always be kept close to you as drowning accidents can happen in just a few inches of water.

2. Skip the inflatables

Parents always think that floaties or kiddies’ buoy can help prevent their kids from drowning, but truth is they actually pose the biggest hazard. Floaties make a child fall into a false sense of safety and they often think that they can enter the water without adult supervision and vice versa. Another downside of using floaties is that they tend to keep the child upright, which forms an unnatural position for the child to paddle to safety.

3. Be aware of water's edge

If you are into swimming in the ocean, check the waves and currents before you enter the water. It is also important to know your surrounding such as jetties or sharp rocks, as you could be dragged by the waves and pushed up against things that could injure you severely. Always make sure there are lifeguards on duty before you swim.

 

4. Don’t be a hero (unless you are a certified lifeguard)

Even if you are an experienced swimmer and you see another swimmer in distress, you should not go after them. Quickly find a lifeguard on duty and inform him or her of the emergency. If there is no one around, throw the swimmer a buoy or extend a pole to grab hold of, and carefully pull the swimmer back to safety.

5. Fence up!

You may be wondering why your house pool would need to be fenced up. If you give it a deeper thought, the primary benefit of fencing up your swimming pool is to prevent anyone, especially toddlers, kids, and even your pets from accidentally falling into the pool and drowning.

Fences also help keep unwanted wanderers or visitors out because the last thing you want is to come back from a vacation and find signs of your pool being used without permission.

6. Vest up!

Some may take wearing a life vest or life jacket lightly when they hop onto a banana boat, a raft or even a jet ski. A life vest is not just about keeping you afloat in water, but it also helps to keep you visible with its bright colours during low visibility conditions.

7. Take swimming lessons

One of the most valuable drowning prevention measures is to take swimming lessons. Swimming helps both adult and children to become more comfortable in the water and offer a sense of self-security by  being able to navigate water safely.

Proper swimming and floating techniques could prevent exhaustion and help you conserve energy during emergencies or while waiting to be rescued.

Now that you are more informed on water safety, don’t forget to get your Domestic Travel Insurance from AXA to enjoy a worry-free vacation anywhere in Malaysia and the water activities you love!

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