Drownings so far this summer higher than last year
At a time when we should be happy and celebrating it is awful to see that so far this summer we have lost more than 1 person per day to drowning. As at 20 December 2018, there have been 22 drowning deaths reported in Australia this summer, as compared to 15 drowning deaths recorded at the same time last year, and 10 drowning deaths reported in New South Wales alone – at the time last year there were 6 drowning deaths recorded in NSW.
Please, practice water safety in every scenario this summer, and keep your loved ones safer. Supervise, Learn To Swim, Fence the pool & shut the gate, Watch your mate – don’t let your mates drink and drown, Respect the river and Learn CPR.
Supervise – Keep Watch! 965 children aged 0-4 years drowned in Australia between 1 July 1993 and 30 June 2018. A lapse in adult supervision was the major risk factor in 100% of toddler drowning deaths. Don’t be distracted when with children around water – nothing is more important than their safety. Put the phone down, and enjoy this precious time in the sun. Watch children in the bath, and empty eskys and portable pools – children can drown in only a tiny amount of water.
Learn To Swim. Every water safety education programme has a common message – teach your kids to swim from six months of age. Quite simply, it is a skill that may just save their life, and should be given priority as such. Take advantage of intensive learn to swim programs if your child has some catching up to do, and always ensure that your swim school has fully qualified instructors. Are you an adult who can’t swim? Stop missing out on all the fun and make 2019 your year to learn!
Fence the pool & shut the gate. Accidental falls into water remain the leading activity prior to drowning among children under five, resulting in 78% of all drowning deaths in this age group last year. Barriers provide an extra layer of protection, but are never a substitute for constant adult supervision.
Watch your mate – don’t let your mates drink and drown. 121 men between the ages of 25-34 lost their lives on our waterways from 2005 – 2015. We have lost the equivalent of a local cricket team each year for the past ten years, and nearly 40 per cent of the drownings involved alcohol and over 20 per cent involved drugs. The message is simple: wear a lifejacket when on the river, avoid consumption of alcohol and drugs around water and never swim alone.
Respect the river. We are very lucky to live so near to the beautiful Nepean River, however 43 drownings occurred in the Nepean, Hawkesbury, Murrumbidgee and Macquarie rivers from 2005-2015. Royal Life Saving research reveals that 1,087 people have died from drowning in Australian rivers, creeks and streams in the fifteen years between 1 July 2003 and 30 June 2018, further estimated 522 people were hospitalised for a non-fatal drowning incident, many with a permanent disability. The flat, still surface of an inland waterway can give a false sense of security, and currents, undertows or submerged objects can prove to be very dangerous.
Learn CPR and educate children about water safety. Would you know what to do in an emergency? If the answer is no, make it your resolution to learn CPR in 2019.
Have we visited your child’s school or preschool to talk about water safety? If the answer is no, just contact me to book a free visit in.
Wishing everyone a very safe and happy festive season, and a wonderful 2019 – see you next year!