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Safety lessons for children by the river

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2020-06-23 07:22


On Monday, the authorities in Chongqing municipality's Tongnan district confirmed that eight elementary school students had drowned while playing by the Fujiang River on Sunday.

A CCTV report said the children, aged 6-12 years, were students of the nearby Mixin Town Primary School and after one of them got into difficulties the others jumped into the river to help.

While their heroic efforts to aid their playmate are commendable, they are not worth encouraging.

Students in our schools are taught to help anyone in trouble, but that their own safety must come first needs to be emphasized. The seven brave students should have asked a grown-up passerby to help rather than risking their own lives. Of course, the best way for them to stay safe is to keep away from rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, seas and other water bodies.

A 2017 report in the Chongqing Morning News said drowning was the biggest killer of juveniles; more than 300 children up to the age of 14 drowned in the municipality that year.

On the micro blog, some users left comments saying children should be given swimming lessons. While that is a good idea, children are still advised against venturing into natural water bodies such as rivers and ponds, which are very unpredictable, unlike swimming pools.

The children's deaths should serve as a warning to everyone of the dangers of swimming in rivers, lakes and other waterways.

With the advent of summer, when children get a chance to play outside, it is all the more important to stress safety so that tragedies like the one in Chongqing do not happen.

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