Drowning By Accident explains why it is so easy to drown, where accidents happen, and how to save lives by early rescue and resuscitation.
More than 600 people die by drowning in Britain every year. Swimming is promoted as a particularly safe form of exercise, so that swimmers forget or ignore the dangers of frigid lakes, swollen rivers, incoming tides or outgoing rip currents. Drowning accidents take place because we don't recognise water as a hostile environment. We overestimate the strength and endurance of our bodies and underestimate the power and deceptiveness of water.
Year after year, victims lose their lives in typical drowning accidents, often sinking so quickly and silently that nearby family, friends and onlookers fail to notice the tragedy taking place close beside them. Babies drown in baths. Toddlers drown in garden ponds. School children fall off rafts. Teenagers strike too far from the shore. Pensioners wade into rivers to save their dogs.
Victims often die within minutes of sinking beneath the surface. A quarter of those who reach hospital alive will also die, while others survive with severe permanent brain damage. This means that it is vitally important for parents, grandparents, teachers, lifeguards and lawmakers to recognise the risks and prevent drowning accidents before they take place.