Rising number of children in near-drowning cases a cause for concern: KK hospital

The number of near-drowning cases involving children has gone up in the past five years.
The number of near-drowning cases involving children has gone up in the past five years. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The number of near-drowning cases involving children has gone up in the past five years and doctors at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) are concerned.

From 2011 to 2015, there were 104 such cases and 10 deaths, or an average of about 20 near-drowning cases each year. In comparison, the hospital saw between five and 12 such cases a year during the previous five-year period.

"The scary thing about drowning is that it's very silent and can happen in seconds," said Dr Arif Tyebally, who is deputy head of the hospital's emergency medicine department.

Urging parents to always be vigilant when their children are near water, such as a swimming pool, he added: "You can just turn around and suddenly it's quiet and the child is underwater."

He was speaking on Thursday (March 10) at a media briefing on the data that the hospital had gathered about near-drowning cases over the years.

Most of the cases involved children aged between one and six years. All the deaths took place in private pools.

Drowning, falls and traffic accidents are the top three causes of death in children in Singapore.


Correction note: An earlier version of the story stated that all the deaths took place in condominium pools, this is incorrect and the deaths instead took place in private pools.