11 July 2024

Parents are being advised to keep a close watch on their young children during the Songkran festival, during which they are at greater risk of drowning, electric shock or being hurt or even killed in road accidents.

The advice was offered by Associate Professor Dr. Adisak Plitponkarnpim, director of the National Institute of Child and Family Development at Mahidol University, according to “The Active” of Thai PBS.

Citing a study, conducted over 12 months, into the deaths of children in accidents, Dr. Adisak said that children under 15 have the highest death rate per 100,000 in April, followed by the rates in March, May and October.

This shows that April, which coincides with the long summer holidays, is the most vulnerable period for children, especially during the week-long Songkran festival.

According to statistics, an average of 7 children die each day from accidents, or about 2,200 a year, he said adding, however, that the death toll doubles during the Songkran festival, with drowning being the top cause of death, followed by road accidents and electrocution.

Due to the hot weather in April, Dr. Adisak said many children like to swim and, if parents are not careful enough, a tragedy can occur.

He also noted that a number of children under 15 and youths from 15 to 18 years of age have died while riding motorcycles near water splashing during Songkran.

Even splashing water on the ground may be unsafe, as he cited a few cases of children being electrocuted.

Dr. Adisak also advised Songkran event organisers to exercise additional caution if the venues for the celebrations are close to ponds or waterways, by erecting signs to warn parents and children and deploying more security guards. If Songkran revellers take a boat ride, he said the organisers must provide enough life vests for all passengers.

Extra caution must also be exercised if electrical equipment is to be used in fun activities during the celebrations, he said.