Drowning is the number one cause of child related deaths in Australia. Everyone needs to be aware of the potential risks and how to keep children safe in and around the water.
As the weather continues to heat up and with Australia Day approaching, leading learn-to-swim and water safety authority, Swim Australia, is warning all Aussies to remain vigilant in and around the water.
With the holidays nearly over many kids will be spending their last days of freedom having fun in the sun and around the water, plus Australia Day is commonly spent around the pool or at the beach.
Being in and around water is part of the Australian lifestyle and any body of water like dams, pools and even creeks are used to cool off. Young children are constantly at risk of drowning and it is important to realise every child could be at risk without the proper preparation and caution.
Swim Australia CEO, Ross Gage warns that drowning can happen at any moment.
“Drowning doesn’t discriminate – accidents can and do happen, even on holidays, often when you least expect it, in a matter of seconds, and sometimes in complete silence.”
In 2013, 31 children under the age of five, drowned and 61 per cent of these drownings occurred in swimming pools.
It is best to assign one water supervisor at a gathering or when spending time around the pool. The supervisor should know the whereabouts of all children in the water at all times.
It is also important to remember the smallest amount of water could put your child at risk of drowning – like an Esky full of ice and water.
Recently Swim Australia and EnergyAustralia, launched the WaterHERO campaign that reinforces the importance water safety and the ‘Layers of Protection’ that should be applied at all times in and around the water.
Layers of Protection;
- Be Aware: Don’t let the kids out of your sight.
This is fundamental, and should be performed by a responsible adult. All nonswimmers and children under five, must be supervised within arm’s reach.
- Be Secure: Keep fences and gates locked up tight.
Pool fences and gates need to be regularly inspected, maintained and meet government requirements. Objects and potential climbing apparatuses like pot
plants and chairs, need to be removed.
- Be Confident: Learn to Swim, and how to get to safety.
Practicing such skills provides another layer of protection, but should never be substituted for proper supervision and barriers.
- Be Prepared: Always have a plan in case of emergency.
Check the pool and other waterways first if a child is missing, then check bedrooms, cupboards etc. Ensure your resuscitation skills are up to date, and
permanently display at least one resuscitation or CPR Chart in the pool area.
For more information on water safety visit the WaterHero website