Beachgoers surf the waves in Tel Aviv last week..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The death toll for children due to drowning more than doubled from 9 in 2013 to 19 in 2014, Beterem – The National Center for Child Safety and Health reported on Thursday.
In addition to the 19 reported deaths, 37 more children almost drowned this year. That figure is extremely high considering that recreational swimming was significantly reduced during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge over the summer, which fell during peak beach and pool weather.
Seven of the deaths of children were in the sea, compared to an average of five for each year from 2011 through 2013.
There were four deaths in public swimming pools this year, compared to an average of 1.7 cases in each year from 2011 and no deaths during several years before. The rest were in private pools.
As in previous years, most of the children who drowned were boys. It was unusual, however, that there was an increase in the death rate from drowning among children aged 10 to 17; previously, most drowning victims have been younger.
Drowning is also more common among Arab boys than their Jewish counterparts.
Beterem noted that all drowning cases can be prevented if parents, teachers and caregivers supervise all swimming activities.
Prevention of drowning, choking and other dangers is supposed to be part of a national program in which 16 government ministries are supposed to be partners and prevent unnecessary deaths.