Water safety awareness needs to increase - especially among children - if drowning accidents are to be avoided, an expert warned yesterday. The warning comes after two incidents on Sunday in which one boy died and another was admitted to hospital. 'Water safety is a much overlooked subject in Hong Kong,' said Leung Fung-lin, senior instructor at the physical education unit at Chinese University and former head of the Hong Kong Life Saving Society's education commission. Last year, 286 swimmers got into difficulties in public swimming pools and on Hong Kong's beaches, with eight dying. On Sunday, a seven-year-old boy drowned in a swimming pool in the Monte Vista club house in Ma On Shan after his mother went to a changing room. In a separate incident, a 14-year-old was resuscitated after blacking out during a breath-holding competition with his friends in Victoria Park Swimming Pool. He was in stable condition in Ruttonjee Hospital last night. It is understood the teenager and his friends had been warned against continuing their competition by lifeguards on duty at the pool, and Ms Leung said swimmers needed to be strongly advised against performing dangerous acts. She said although lifeguards did not have any authority to ask swimmers to leave the pool, they could keep issuing warnings and maintain a close eye on those who deliberately put their safety at risk. She pointed out that even if they survive, drowning victims face very real chances of brain damage. 'Usually people who have been [under water] for more than five minutes will have brain damage.' She also said swimming pools with irregular shapes, such as the one in the Monte Vista club house, had more blind spots than a normal pool. A Monte Vista resident Mrs Siu, who has a seven-year-old son learning how to swim at its club house, said she would not allow her son to swim alone. 'It doesn't matter how many lifeguards are at the pool. We as parents have to keep an eye on our own children.'