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830 Drowning from the viewpoint of the near-drowned
  1. Anneli Toivonen
  1. Specialist for special swimming, the Finnish Swimming Teaching and Lifesaving Federation, Helsinki, Finland


Background The Finnish Swimming Teaching and Lifesaving Federation (FSL) is an educational and information-providing organisation which guides nationwide swimming instruction and lifesaving issues. FSL co-operates actively with public authorities in water safety issues.

Methods The Master’s Degree thesis examined, through 160 near-drowning experiences, what happens to people in drowning situations. The gathered information was then compared to the water safety instructions given by FSL. Thus, the main aim of the study was to utilise the gathered information in the future water safety instructions given by FSL. Another aim was to search for effective ways to enhance drowning-prevention interventions.

Results Even when instructions for water safety are essentially good, people find it difficult to follow them. In a drowning situation there is often an absence of rational thinking when one’s life is in danger. This means that it is extremely important to avoid being alone both when in and by the water. Both, the concept of parental responsibility and the constant monitoring of one’s own children in and near water, vary greatly and are lacking.

Conclusions Water safety education is challenging. The drowning experience is always tied to a situation, where many things and coincidences affect it. People are not able to follow water safety instructions, neither in a preventative sense nor in the actual emergency situation. People trust their own “common sense” and this isn`t always a good thing. Even though the water safety tips are simple, they are not always put into practice in water.

  • Water safety
  • Drowning
  • Near drowning

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