Cool off Safely!

What a strange week it’s been, with flooding in some parts of NSW, whilst other parts enjoyed beautiful sunny weather. I would hate to have to predict what this summer might look like, which is why its just as well I don’t work at the Bureau Of Meteorology (formerly know as the BOM). They predict that “We may not have extreme heat days compared to some recent years”, but “heatwaves may last longer, be warmer overnight, and be more humid, especially in the south”.

I think we all remember January 4 2020, when Penrith was for a brief period of time the hottest place on the planet, hitting 48.9 degrees and breaking a temperature record that had been standing since 1939. In addition, heat research commissioned by Penrith City Council found that on that day the mercury rose to 52 degrees in the suburb of Berkshire Park, 51.5 in Agnes Banks, and 50.1 in Badgerys Creek. My point is, we are all going to need to cool off this summer, and the best way to do so (unless you enjoy sitting indoors in the air conditioning all summer), is in the water.

The only safe way to cool off in the water is to keep all of the water safety message at top of mind. The swim safety messages are presented slightly differently from one organisation to the other when looking at Royal Lifesaving Australia, Laurie Lawrence’s “Kids Alive, Do The 5”, ASSA and Swim Australia, but they remain consistent regarding the layers of protection needed. Fence the pool, keep all gates closed and make sure they are self-latching, and teach your children to swim as a priority from a young age (Swim Australia recommends starting all children from 4-6 months of age). Ensure full supervision of children at all times, and keep under 5’s at arm’s reach, both in the pool and at the beach. Learn CPR in the case of emergency, and have a phone available at all times near water, (without succumbing to the temptation of scrolling through Facebook).

It is very important that water safety at home is a priority at all times. Home pools and spas are obvious drowning hazards, but there are many other items and areas which present a significant drowning threat to young children in and around the home, such as buckets, bathtubs, eskies, fountains, fishponds, lakes, drains, 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. Most toddler drowning deaths occur when parents are distracted, by other siblings, preparing meals, phone calls or any other number of parental duties. We all have moments when we are distracted, but unfortunately moments are all it takes for a child to drown, which is why the layers of protection are so important.

Royal Life Saving has developed a home pool safety checklist home owners can use to minimise the risks. You can find the checklist at:

Stay safe and cool – see you next week