Children are still drowning

The last Saturday of October was gorgeous weather, warm enough for my children to swim for the first time this spring, and we had a great afternoon splashing about. It was the first time my 4 year old son had swum in our backyard pool without a flotation aid, as over the winter his swimming skills have really progressed to the point where I felt comfortable that he no longer needed it, and to “bubble him up” would actually cause his skills to regress. Supervision was absolutely key. Coming indoors and reading the alerts on my phone a short time later when we had finished swimming, I felt sick. It had been reported that a 4 year old boy was in a critical condition at the Children’s Hospital Westmead after he was pulled from a pool in Penrith earlier that same afternoon. It is impossible as a parent not to put yourself in that child’s parent shoes, and my heart went out to the child and their family, without any judgement, just compassion. Accidents happen, and the family involved will never be the same. It is simply heartbreaking. Research released by Royal Life Saving Australia this week reported that 965 children aged 0-4 years drowned in Australia over the last 25 years. Accidental falls into water were recorded as the leading activity resulting in drowning, with a lapse in adult supervision cited as the major risk factor in 100% of toddler drowning deaths. Swimming pools were the leading location for drowning deaths among young children in Australia, accounting for 52% (2002/03 – 2017/18). “It can only take a few moments for a child to slip away unnoticed, fall into the water and drown”, said Justin Scarr, CEO at Royal Life Saving Society – Australia. “Drowning is often quick and silent. Distractions like browsing social media on your phone, attending to another child, or ducking inside to grab something can have tragic consequences if a toddler is left unattended by water. Active supervision is the best protection against child drowning, however kids can be quick and hard to keep up with so it’s vital to fence pools and spas to prevent children gaining access. Regularly check that your fence and gate are in working order, and never prop the gate open” said Mr Scarr. “The shocking research report has also revealed that for every fatal drowning there were an estimated 7.6 non-fatal drowning incidents resulting in hospitalisation. That is approximately 7,361 children who suffered a non-fatal drowning over the last 25 years, many live with a permanent disability as a result.” It is also incredibly important that young children learn to swim, and are educated about water safety and CPR. In a good news story this week, 4 young boys aged between 11 and 13 saved a 4 year old boy from drowning at a Central Coast caravan park by recognising he was in trouble under the water, pulling him out and performing CPR until the ambulance arrived. The boys credit their knowledge of
what to do in that situation to the TV show “Bondi Rescue” and a year 4 CPR lesson at their school. If you would like us to bring our free Water Safety Lesson to your child’s school or pre school, just contact me – Please stay safe this summer.