The “SANTI RIVERA” foundation, is a non-profit organization created to inform and educate all types of people – children, parents and caretakers – regarding the risk of severe injuries and death by drowning, especially children, due to inadequate use of pools. The importance of knowing how to avoid them and safety measures that need to be taken into account, not only in private pools within residential areas, but also at public ones.
Between 2004 and 2007, deaths by drowning were the second cause of accidental deaths; but the first cause within minors, with a total of 1148 deaths, from which 38,7% were minors between 0 and 4 years old. Source: INMLCF in Spanish (National Medical Forensics Agency) Forensis. Deaths and accidental injuries, Colombia 2008.
It is estimated that drowning caused 450.000 deaths around the world in 2000. According to the results from certain authors, for each drowning there are 2 people who need hospital treatment due to a similar accident and 10% of those who are saved will experience side effects.
At a school survey, 15% of students admitted to have suffered at least one critical episode while in the water the previous year. (Pan-american Health Organization. Prevention of accidents and injuries. Washington DC: OPS; 1993.(PALTEX series for health programs executors; 29).
What is most shocking is that pools in Colombia, as in the rest of the world, have become a “must” in residential units, schools, country and private houses. If the appropriate preventive measures are not taken into account this condition will only increase the risk for these types of accidents.
Contrary to countries with seasons, where the use of pools increases during summer, just like controlling and safety measures do, in Colombia summer is all year long, which makes the risk permanent.
On July 14th, 2008, President Alvaro Uribe Velez signed the 1209 Law, which regulates safety measures for pools, and seeks to protect the health and life of all Colombian children.
TO HAVE A POOL IS NOT A RIGHT, BUT A RESPONSIBILITY.
Contact with water should continue being a reason for entertainment and physical and motor skills development for little ones, not the deadly trap that it has become today. As adults we have the obligation to protect them, not only complying and respecting safety measures, but also being an example regarding safe and responsible behavior at pools and nearby areas.