On July 5, 2023, Mr. Nopporn Wuthikul, Mayor of Hua Hin City in Prachuap Province, chaired the inauguration of the “Children’s Drowning Prevention Project and the Creation of a Team of Good Promoters (MERIT MAKER) for 2023” at Hua Hin Wittayalai School. The event was attended by Reverend Somroj Chaichana, Director of Hua Hin Wittayalai School, Dr. Weerasak Pongpattanaphan, Director of Bangkok-Hua Hin Hospital, Hua Hin municipal administrators, teachers, students, parents, and relevant officials.
Alarming statistics from the past 10 years (2012-2021) reveal that 7,374 children under 15 years of age have drowned, averaging 737 cases per year or 2 cases per day. The Office of the Permanent Secretary for Public Health reported that in 2021 alone, there were 219 drowning deaths among children under 5 years old, accounting for 33.3% of all drowning deaths in the under-15 age group. The drowning death rate per 100,000 children is the highest, reaching 6.9%. Additionally, it was found that 35.9% of children were living with their parents or caregivers at the time of drowning, with the majority of incidents occurring when parents or caregivers were away due to work commitments (50%). Furthermore, incorrect first aid techniques, such as carrying the drowning child over the shoulder, were administered in 27.6% of cases.
To address these concerning statistics, the Division of Public Health and Environment in Hua Hin Municipality organized this project with the support of various organizations, including the Naval Medical Department, Naval Ordnance Department, Share for Life Club, Join for Love, Sawang Hua Hin Thammasathan Foundation, staff from Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin, and affiliated teams. The project aims to provide children with swimming lessons, educate them on drowning prevention and water safety, train them in CPR and the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), and build a network of advocates. The training sessions, which took place from July 5 to 7, involved 390 students divided into three groups of 130 students each.