Over 300 accidental drownings in a month, with post-containment release

Numerous accidental drownings last month, likely related to a post-containment release. More than 300 accidental drownings, including 79 fatal, took place in France between early June and early July, announced Tuesday, July 13, Public Health France (SPF).

Successive lockdowns due to Covid-19 may have resulted in both “An alteration of physical conditions due to lack of activity and weight gain”, as well as’“An overall decrease in vigilance and apprehension of the risk of drowning”, according to Aymeric Ung, an expert from the health agency. “It is therefore crucial to recall the drowning prevention measures at all ages, emphasizing the importance of taking into account the physical form and state of health of each person”, explains SPF.

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Between the 1er June and July 5, the 2021 drowning survey of Public Health France listed 314 “Documented accidental drownings”, resulting in 79 deaths, according to preliminary results.

This is a number ” Student “ which represents, when compared to a survey carried out in 2018 over the same period, an increase of 22% for accidental drownings and 58% of deaths.

The age groups most affected by these accidents are children aged 0 to 5 (21% of drownings) and people aged 65 and over (25%).

More accidents at sea

The accidents were most numerous at sea (143). This is followed by private family swimming pools (61), rivers and streams (45), as well as bodies of water such as lakes (33). “80% of drowning deaths between 1er June and July 5 took place in a natural site, which is an overall high proportion ”, comments Aymeric Ung. According to him, this supports the hypothesis of a “General relaxation at the time of deconfinement”.

On the other hand, the fact that the children could not learn to swim since the swimming pools were closed is not, according to him, in question in this first assessment of the summer. “It could have played out, but only at the margin”, he believes. “Drowning in children, apart from a few cases, it is systematically a problem of vigilance of the adult who is supposed to watch. If the adult is vigilant, there is no reason for drowning in children ”, he insists.

For adults, the expert warns against “An overestimation of his physical capacities and an underestimation of the risks”. “It’s like when you arrive for your week of skiing: there are more fractures on the first day”, he assures.

“But in the case of a fracture, you are in a cast, you miss your week of skiing and that’s it. There, if there is a bad apprehension of the risk, it can be fatal very quickly, especially in the elderly ”, warns Mr. Ung.

A next report will be drawn up at the end of July. In 2020, the drowning accidents recorded between early June and early August had fallen by around 20% compared to previous years, a decrease that Public Health France attributed to the closure of swimming pools due to Covid-19 and the lower attendance of swimming places.

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The World with AFP