A child can drown in just a few inches of water in the time it takes a person to answer the telephone. On-the-spot cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) gives a child a five-time better chance of not developing complications after a near-drowning incident. The Merchant Marine Ministry has issued the following instructions in an attempt to reduce the number of deaths by drowning. – Don’t swim after drinking. Alcohol and the sea are a dangerous combination. – Wait 3-4 hours before swimming after a meal, but try to avoid swimming on a completely empty stomach. – Don’t dive into water if you don’t know its depth or morphology. – Don’t swim during bad weather, when seas are high or where there are strong currents. – Avoid swimming alone at night; always keep another swimmer in sight. – If you are being swept away by a current, try not to panic, turn your face away from the wind and stay afloat. If the current runs parallel to the shore, swim with it and aim for the shore at an angle. – If you see a swimmer in trouble, look around for an object that will float, throw it toward him and call for help. Parents should keep the following in mind: – Plastic floatation devices are no guarantee of safety. – f your child is afraid of entering the water don’t force him. -If the child almost drowns, wrap him in a towel and take him immediately to the hospital or to a doctor. – If a child is unconscious, remove anything blocking his mouth, turn him on his side, tilt his head back and lift his chin so that the base of the tongue does not stop air from entering. Last year 241 people drowned in Greek waters, most of them elderly. There were 174 men, 65 women and two children. Greeks comprised 159 of the victims, 59 were foreigners; 23 were not identified.