Be safer rather than silly this season.
We are all looking forward to some hard earned time off over the festive season, but Royal Life Saving Australia research shows that Australian’s are twice more likely to drown on a public holiday than any other day of the year, with a total of 210 Australians drowning on public holidays over the past 15 years.
Those traveling out of their local area should be on particularly high alert, as they pose the highest risk across this busy period, being 2.5 times more likely to drown due to lack of knowledge and familiarly of the local water ways.
Alcohol is a significant contributor to public holiday drowning deaths, and it’s men that are commonly susceptible to a higher risk, with the report showing men are four times more likely to drown than women.
Whilst it may be no surprise that these busy days of the year see an uplift in drowning statistics, we need to do all within our control to minimise the risks.
My top 10 rules to follow this holiday season are:
1. Avoid alcohol around water.
2. Check for snags and currents before entering inland waterways & rivers.
3. Know your limits and never swim alone.
4. Swim at patrolled beaches between the flags, and learn how to spot rip currents.
5. Children under 5 should be arms reach at the beach, at the pool, and in every other aquatic environment.
6. Fence the pool, keep all gates closed and make sure they are self-latching.
7. Be aware of other housed items which represent a drowning risk, ie eskys, inflatable pools, bathtub, buckets, fishponds, even pet bowls.
8. Make supervision of children the priority around all water – delegate a supervisor at all events with the adults talking turns on rotation. Do not assume someone else is watching.
9. Learn how to resuscitate.
10. Teach children to swim and continue to attend lessons regularly.
Royal Life Saving has developed a home pool safety checklist home owners can use to minimise the risks. You can find the checklist at: https://www.royallifesaving.com.au/programs/home-pool-safety/home-pool-safety-checklist