Be safer this silly season

For the second year in a row we are dragging ourselves to the end of an exhausting and unpredictable year, so no one can blame us for wanting to let our hair down this festive season. However we can’t afford to become complacent – 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. Holiday makers are at highest risk, 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. We need to do all within our control to minimise the risks.
These are my top ten water safety tips for a happy holiday period:
1. Avoid alcohol around water.
2. Check for snags and currents before entering inland waterways & rivers.
3. Know your limits and never swim alone, or when intoxicated.
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, always.
6. Fence the pool, checked and close all gates and make sure they are self-latching.
7. Be aware of other household items which represent a drowning risk, ie eskys, inflatable pools, bathtubs, buckets, fishponds, even pet bowls. Children have drowned in less water than a drink bottle can hold.
8. Make supervision of children the priority around all water – delegate a supervisor at all events with the adults talking turns on rotation. Never assume someone else is watching.
9. Learn how to perform CPR and use an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator).
10. Teach children to swim and continue to attend lessons regularly. It may be tempting to drop lessons as life gets busy but until children reach their age related milestones swimming lessons should remain non-negotiable. Be sure to utilise all of the NSW Government vouchers currently available, such as the First Lap and Active Kids Vouchers to ensure your child becomes a capable swimmer – don’t let your 2021 Active Kids go to waste, they expire on 31st December 2021.
Drownings remain a risk at home, where we are often most relaxed and assume nothing bad will happen. Royal Life Saving has developed a home pool safety checklist home owners can use to minimise the risks. You can find the checklist at:
Wishing you a safe summer with your families.