The heat wave and good weather will spread over the country in the coming days. If we can rejoice, unfortunately statistically the heat increases the risk of drowning. This Saturday, a 7-year-old child was found lifeless in a private pool in Pont-de-Chéruy (Isère), and in Gironde, a 3-year-old child is in serious condition after being found unconscious at the bottom of his parents' pool in Latresne. In our territory, accidental drownings are responsible for approximately 1,000 deaths each year. Almost half take place during the summer period, 4% of which take place in supervised bathing areas (public or private).
The dangers of private pools have been known for a long time. The need for prevention and education on the issue is more necessary than ever. "Everyone is concerned by a risk of drowning, even a person in good physical condition, explained last year to the Parisian Aymeric Ung, specialist in the issue at Public Health France. " Most drownings are preventable, with simple and pragmatic gestures," he said.
Going into the water with them
Private family swimming pools, the scene of many accidents, especially among children under six, must be the subject of special attention. "Rule number 1 is to go into the water with your children. In a private pool, you must explain to children the safety rules such as never approaching without an adult. Even a child who manages in the water, something can happen to him. The supervision of parents is vital," confirms Roxana Maracineanu, former swimming world champion who now organizes aquatic ease courses for 3-6 year olds on the island of France with her association "I can not I have swimming pool".
Teach them to float on their own
"Acclimatization to the aquatic environment is just as important. Knowing how to float is not done when you arrive in a holiday home. It's done upstream," says the former sports minister. "The essential thing is training. It is better to train without flotation equipment. It is necessary to make the child understand that he is able to float on his own, "explains the specialized trainer.
Close the gate every time
Another essential gesture for the swimmer: "Always close behind either the pool enclosure, the protective barriers. 80% of security comes first of all from the transmission of this kind of information to children, "says the one for whom the training of parents is as important as the information of the youngest. Clearly, we close the roller shutter, the barrier or we activate the alarm of the inground pool (the presence of at least one of these equipment is mandatory since 2006) each time we get out of the water.
"Children are very attracted to water, so adults really need to do the work," she says. "Adults must always be empowered. The identification of an adult who must accompany them to the pool to monitor them is a good thing," notes Roxana Maracineanu, hammering that access to the pool should not be done alone for a toddler.
VIDEO. The "Carava'nage", the mobile pool to teach children how to save themselves from drowning
This is also the case in above-ground pools, which we imagine less dangerous. "They are just as important, the children manage to go up, but not to go down, and tip over to the other side. My message is clear: when you're not there, you remove the ladder," explains emergency physician Vincent Bounes.
In addition, since 2019, the government has launched a device to promote the learning of swimming by the youngest, through the "aquatic ease" program for 4-6 year olds (70,000 children benefiting in 2022) and the swimming skills program for 6-12 year olds, to ensure that each child acquires fundamental sports knowledge essential to their development, their health, independence and safety.