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Drowning - Second leading cause of accidental death in SA

Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA is trying to raise awareness about water safety on Saturday as it's World First Aid Day.

Picture: Vic Brincat/Wikimedia Commons.

CAPE TOWN - Did you know that drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in South Africa after road accidents?

That's according to a charity founded by former Olympic swimmer and now European royalty, Princess Charlene of Monaco.

Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa is trying to raise awareness about water safety on Saturday as it's World First Aid Day.

It says approximately half of drowning accidents occur in and around the home in buckets, bathtubs and swimming pools.

The foundation's Ryk Neethling says he had a similar frightening experience when he was a child.

“When I was about five-years-old, I ended up at the bottom of the neighbour's pool. It can happen so quickly and that’s why World First Aid Day is so important, to raise awareness and teach as many people first aid and CPR as possible. It can really save a lot of lives.”

Alarmingly, drowning is among the 10 leading causes of death of children and young people in every region of the world, with children aged under 5 years disproportionately at risk.

“Unfortunately, children are particularly susceptible to accidents in their daily lives but active adult supervision and a knowledge of first aid, CPR and water safety will help prevent drowning accidents at home and save lives,” says HSH Princess Charlene.

World First Aid Day also recognises the important role that National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other organisations have in providing quality first aid training worldwide as a way of building people's capacity to respond in situations of injury or illness.

South African Red Cross Society chairperson Connie Motshumi said, “First aid is an essential basic life-saving skill that dynamic and developing communities need to possess in order to deal with sudden emergencies. On this World First Aid Day, we are proud to be leaders in training and educating communities, both rural and urban. We encourage South Africans to acquire First Aid knowledge to help save a life and avoid unnecessary deaths!"