The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa marked World First Aid Day 2017 on Saturday by raising awareness around the risks associated with domestic accidents in and around water.
The foundation hosted a series of events across South Africa to raise awareness of the risks associated with water in and around the home as it marked World First Aid Day on September 9.
In 2016, as the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent’s (IFRC) Goodwill Ambassador for First Aid, HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco launched World First Aid Day at the headquarters of the IFRCSocieties in Geneva to promote first aid for children by children.
This year, the theme of World First Aid Day was “Domestic Accidents”, which refers to preventable or unintentional injuries that occur in the home environment.
The foundation said homes are often perceived as safe places, but unfortunately this is where 80% of accidents occur. 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 five years disproportionately at risk.
In South Africa, more than 1 500 people drown each year, the second leading cause of accidental death after road accidents. In urban areas, about half the drowning incidents occur in and around the home in buckets, bathtubs and swimming pools. This figure rises to 70% in children under the age of five.
“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,” noted 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 peoples’ capacity to respond in situations of injury or illness.
Connie Motshumi, chairperson of the South African Red Cross Society, 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.”
The Princess, who is Patron of the South African Red Cross Society, is particularly passionate about teaching children essential First Aid and water safety skills.
“Empowering young people, who are so often first on the scene of an accident, as First Aid providers will help equip them to be able to assist responsibly in an emergency,” highlights HSH Princess Charlene.
Earlier this year, on her visit to Johannesburg, HSH Princess Charlene visited Gugulesizwe Primary School with the South African Red Cross Society and taught child heads of home essential First Aid and CPR skills.
“The majority of domestic drownings are preventable. Being aware of the risks and dangers in a domestic setting and supervising children carefully, especially around buckets, baths and swimming pools, is the first step to developing a culture of safety in the home” explains Ryk Neethling, Olympic Champion swimmer and CEO of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA.
“However, it is also essential that family and community members have a knowledge and understanding of First Aid, CPR and water safety, a vital step in the chain of survival if a child suffers a drowning accident at home,” he went on to say.
The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation was established in 2012, and has since reached over 300 000 people worldwide in its quest to end death by drowning, with operations being established in South Africa in 2013. In 2016, the foundation taught 2 507 children to swim and 27 242 children essential water safety skills through 23 projects across South Africa.
In July this year, the foundation went into partnership with Lifesaving South Africa, an organisation which treats over 15 000 First Aid cases a year and performs over 3 000 rescues annually.