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With elementary school children ending the year on Friday and high school pupils already having finished their classes, two months of summer vacation pose potential dangers.
Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health, advises parents to keep an eye on their children to prevent accidents and ensure that they will start the new school year in good health.
At least 190,000 children will be in danger at the beach or the pool, according to Beterem, which found in a new poll it commissioned that 22 percent of parents do not observe safe practises when their kids are in the water. They do not stay close, are busy with other things and don't keep their eyes on them when the child swims or otherwise plays in the water.
Every year, around 10 children die of drowning.
The study, based on self-reported behavior in a representative sample of parents, found that secular Jewish parents are less likely to observe safe behaviors regarding their children than modern Orthodox and haredi parents, and, surprisingly, those who are well educated ignore safety rules significantly more than those with less education.
Nearly half of parents mistakenly believe that the lifeguard is solely responsible for the safety of swimmers, and a third are unaware of the fact that they must never leave a child under five in the bathtub alone even for a minute.
In addition, 15% of parents admitted that the last time they went to the beach, it was one without a lifeguard where swimming is not permitted. A quarter of parents with children aged five to 14 said their offspring have not learned to swim. Beterem director Dr. Michal Hemmo-Lotem said that if a child does not know how to swim, he or she should be in very shallow water only if accompanied by a parent who knows how to swim. Those who do swim should never jump from a dock or breakwater because it's difficult to know how deep the water is and if there are rocks just below.
Dr. Danny Meron, an expert in infectious diseases at Ziv Hospital in Safed, recommends that young children who suffer from diarrhea during the summer should be fed regular food and a lot of liquids. Giving them foods that traditionally are meant to stop diarrhea, such as rice, can slow down intestinal recovery, and giving medications against it just clouds the medical picture. Most diarrhea is caused by a viral infection that can be prevented by frequent handwashing, he said.