CHIANG RAI – Parents have been warned to take extra caution as children are at least twice as likely to drown during the Songkran festival as at other times of year.
The Department of Disease Control (DDC) director-general Jessada Chokdamrongsuk said the agency’s figures show that in total 176 children aged under 15 had drowned during the Songkran long weekend from 2007 to 2016, or six a day on average.
Areas where children drowning often occurred were waterfalls, reservoirs and canals as parents took their children on holidays there.
Dr Jessada said safety zones must be designated at water tourist attractions with danger signs erected. Parents should keep their children well away from waterways and ponds and in their sight at all times.
Parents should take care to prevent the children from slipping into the water as many children tend to want to go near the ponds or rivers unsupervised to collect water for splashing during Songkran.
Dr Jessada said parents should not let children fetch water alone even in crowded areas.
Local communities should provide lifesaving equipment near water zones while residents should be vigilant and warn children of the danger of slipping into the water.
A 1669 hotline has been opened for immediate paramedic assistance.