'Negligent' parents distracted by mobile phones put children at risk of drowning, say police

Authorities send out warning over youngsters being left unattended at the pool or beach

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'Negligent' parents distracted by their phones are being urged to watch their children's safety instead, as police try to prevent drownings.

Abu Dhabi Police has sent out a warning that parents who leave children unattended while swimming at pools or the beach are putting their lives at risk.

Police say adults should constantly monitor their children when they are in the water - rather than become preoccupied by their mobile phones.

The safety message comes after two drownings in the UAE last month.

A 9-year-old boy drowned off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah while out with his family, while another drowned in a Sharjah swimming pool after sneaking out of the family flat.

Abu Dhabi Police said parents should also make children aware of the dangers of swimming, both in the water and when approaching a pool.

“Negligence is considered a major cause of child drowning incidents,” said the statement.

“Families should not be busy with their smart devices while children are swimming, and should avoid filling the swimming pool to the maximum, especially when it is being used by children.

“Families are required to keep an eye on the children and only allow them to swim after following preventive measures and in the presence of a swimming and rescue qualified person.”


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Police cited unsupervised use of swimming pools, family negligence, lack of swimming knowledge, water depth, slippery floors around pools and children unexpectedly throwing each other in the pool for fun as common causes of incidents.

They recommend setting up a fence around the swimming pool to prevent children from entering, making sure that there is a non-slippery floor around the pool, using swimming equipment and life jackets, and to keep the pool door closed at all times.

Swimming pools should have metal handles and ladders, while people should avoid swimming in unsupervised and undesignated beaches and should choose sandy spots under the supervision of lifeguards.

“Leaving children under three years alone in the swimming pools can expose them to drowning incidents.” said police.