HL Deb 17 September 2003 vol 652 c188WA
Lord Moynihan

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many children under the age of 16 drown every year; whether drowning is the most common cause of accidental death among children; and what plans they have to reduce the number of deaths. [HL4379]

Lord Davies of Oldham

The Department of Transport and the Royal Life Boat Institute are supporting work undertaken by the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to collect statistics on drowning and incidents that could have led to death by drowning. The latest published data produced by RoSPA show that 42 children aged 16 years or under drowned in 2001. In 2000, 49 children drowned. The provisional figures for 2002 indicate that 47 children drowned.

According to RoSPA figures drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in children.

The Department for Transport and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are providing funding of £50,000 this year to enable the secretariat to the National Water Safety Committee to improve its strategic oversight of all the initiatives to reduce the incidence of drowning.

The Department for Education and Skills has produced guidance and training for Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and schools on pupil safety on educational visits and at water margins which it continues to promote. It has also funded the training of educational visits co-ordinators within schools in order to improve safety practices. All LEAs have committed to delivering this training to their schools. New guidance on swimming and water safety awareness is in preparation.

The Government also sponsor the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority appointed by Parliament to inspect and licence providers of waterborne activities and plans to continue the licensing scheme in the foreseeable future.