Two babies drown in Israel on Thursday in concerning trend

Since only the beginning of the calendar year, 13 children drowned, with half of the cases occurring inside or near the child's home.

 Israelis enjoy the Shaded nature pool of Ein Tut, near Moshav Ani'am, in the Golan Heights, July 10, 2022. (photo credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)
Israelis enjoy the Shaded nature pool of Ein Tut, near Moshav Ani'am, in the Golan Heights, July 10, 2022.
(photo credit: MICHAEL GILADI/FLASH90)

In a jarring turn of events, two babies drowned — one of them to death — on Thursday in two separate locations in Israel: Gush Etzion and Rahat. Both were taken to hospital for medical care.

The Rahat case

In Rahat, a two-month-old girl drowned in a bathtub and was taken to the Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba. The child was pronounced dead on Friday morning

MDA senior medic Malik Abu Ar'ara said that his team performed CPR on the girl and transferred her to the hospital. 

The Gush Etzion case

MDA ambulance (illustrative) (credit: Yanir Yagana)MDA ambulance (illustrative) (credit: Yanir Yagana)

In Gush Etzion, a two-year-old toddler was medevaced to Hadassah-University Medical Center in serious condition, in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem after drowning in a private pool. The child is currently intubated in the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit

"When we arrived, we saw the toddler unconscious near the pool after being pulled out," MDA paramedic Netanel Refuah and senior medic Danny Rotenberg said. 

The two performed CPR on the toddler and transferred him to an IDF medical unit. He was taken to the hospital from there. Gush Etzion Council head Moshe Ne'eman said he and the entire community are praying for the child's wellbeing. 

In another instance, a three-and-a-half-year-old boy was moderately injured after falling to the ground in Bat Yam. MDA teams that arrived on site gave him initial medical treatment and evacuated him to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. 

What's going on with Israel's child safety? 

The Gush Etzion case would not be the first case — in just the past month — of a baby drowning in a pool. On July 30, a two-year-old underwent CPR after being submerged in water in a private pool in Kfar Shmariyahu. In another July instance, an 11-month-old was rendered unconscious after drowning in a bath. 

Back in March, headlines blared with the death of a one-year-old baby that drowned to death in a bucket of paint in Netivot. 

According to Beterem Safe Kids, an organization — the only one in its field — committed to policy and awareness regarding child safety, the trend is concerning

Since only the beginning of the calendar year, 13 children drowned, with half of the cases occurring inside or near the child's home. Beterem provided numbers from the past five years: 99 children, half of them toddlers, perished due to safety negligence

"A drowning happens quickly and silently," said Orly Silbinger, Beterem's CEO, "a child that is drowning cannot cry, call for help, or help themselves." 

Silbinger called on parents to be extra vigilant — "do not rely on miracles" — and not leave children near water without surveillance, "not even for a second." 

Safe practices around water can save a life, she added, "it's up to us to prevent the next death."