It’s All About Safety
Ongoing education is one of the best ways to keep children safer around the water, which is why we get out into schools, pre-schools, fetes and community events to talk about Swim Safety and CPR all year round. It is also why we supported the Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA) Safer Swimming Week last week, 25th November to 1st December.
The aim of the national campaign is simple – to prevent drownings and save lives – by reminding children, parents and caregivers about the layers of protection needed to protect children from harm around water. Last summer 19 children under 5 drowned in Australia. Over the last 25 years, we have lost 965 children under the age of five to drowning.
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 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: https://www.royallifesaving.com.au/programs/home-pool-safety/home-pool-safety-checklist