Just keep Swimming, all year round, to keep children safer
As we approach the end of March, I write with a heavy heart, following one of the worst summers on record, and another incident (in Queensland) involving 2 toddlers just this week. We are a few months away from the next Royal Life Saving National Drowning report being released, but by the end of February 105 deaths had been recorded in media-related data alone and the final number is still pending Coronial confirmations of drowning deaths. Amy Peden, Royal Life Saving Australia’s national manager of research and policy, said that this year’s figures could jump even higher and make the 2018-19 summer the deadliest on record. All of these deaths were preventable, so we must focus as a community on education around water safety and swimming skills. Please enrol your children in swimming lessons from 6 months of age, and continue lessons until the child is competent in the water. The risks associated with drowning do not go away during the cooler months, so swimming lessons must be an all year round activity. By swimming throughout the cooler months children remain confident in the water, and avoid regression of swimming skills.
Always actively supervise children in any aquatic environment, no exceptions, no lapses. Fence the pool, regularly check fences and keep all barriers well maintained. Shut the pool gate, and never prop it open for any reason. Make it a priority to learn rescue techniques and CPR. Take advantage of the monthly CPR courses run for adults at Nepean Aquatic Centre, and of the free water safety visits we conduct in daycare centres, preschools, and primary schools.
Remove water hazards and temptations at home. Please supervise children in the bath and do not answer the phone or door and leave them in the water alone. Be aware of other items which present a significant drowning threat to young children in and around the home, such as buckets, eskies, fountains, fishponds, inflatable pools and even pet bowls. It is crucial that these are emptied, covered, put away and not left where they can fill up with water, especially in the recent heavy rain we have been experiencing. Remember to check outside areas after storms, has a toy or other item filled with water and become a drowning hazard?
Never swim alone, and never consume alcohol when swimming, fishing, boating or supervising children in the water. Swim between the flags at the beach, and be aware of rips. Never allow children to play breath holding games, and be aware of the symptoms of dry and secondary drowning.
If you are an adult who is unable to swim, why not learn this winter and be ready for summer fun in the water? We offer group lessons for adults, which are more affordable than private lessons, and have proven very popular in recent months. Take advantage of the intensive swim programs offered in the school holidays in heated pools to keep your children confident and used to the aquatic environment – these lessons are great fun and great exercise, and a perfect chance to improve your child’s swimming skills ahead of summer. We have an Intensive Lesson Easter Special coming up in April – 4 lessons for $40 from Monday 15th to Thursday 18th April. Or take advantage of multiple lesson discounts during the cooler weather to really accelerate your child’s swimming skills – we are offering second and subsequent weekly lessons for just $10 to make extra lessons, and fast tracking of swimming skills, more affordable.
Just keep swimming, all year round.