July is the month with the most drownings, according to the Swedish Life Saving Society’s (Svenska Livräddningssällskapet, SLS). Twenty-six people have died by drowning in 2010 compared with 35 in 2009, SLS’ preliminary figures show. Over the past 10 years, 262 people have drowned in July.
On Tuesday, a seven-year boy drowned at a campsite outside Luleå in northern Sweden, while on Thursday, a four-year-old boy was found unconscious at an outdoor swimming area in central Umeå. His injuries as of Saturday afternoon were still life-threatening.
More children and young people may be victims of drowning before the summer is over. The warm sunshine and high temperatures mean a lot of people will visit bathing areas, increasing the risk of something going wrong.
“There are many people on the beach. It is easy to lose track of each other and lose sight of children,” said Karin Brand, general secretary of SLS.
Of the drownings in June, four were children and adolescents and all of the incidents took place at swimming areas. The circumstances surrounding the accidents are unclear, but one can suspect that the lack of swimming ability and water habits contributed to the drownings. According to Brand, inadequate supervision was the main cause of the accidents.
“Parents generally believe that children will call for help like adults do, but they do not. They drown silently,” she said.
Adults are also at risk of accidents during the bathing season. On Friday, a man in his 80s died while swimming in Kappelshamnsviken in the northern part of the island of Gotland.