Just get swimming!

Drowning remains the number 1 cause of accidental death in Australia in children under 5 years of age – it can take just 20 seconds for a child to drown, as another tragic summer break has proven. Most children who drown in home pools, fall in by accident.

Tragically, eight children in total have died during the holiday period, and we’ve lost 26 people in total to drowning over the holiday period, including two on Christmas Day itself and another on Boxing Day. While the numbers are lower this the same time last year, it is still 26 people too many.

On December 29th, 3 year old Issac Powell died in a next-door neighbour’s pool in Perth. The little boy’s family had just moved in, and while his mum readied the house for a family get together, the little boy made his way next door via some broken boundary fence panels. I can’t begin to comprehend the pain the family must be going through.

In further incidents five-year-old girl was pulled from waters in Nagambie in central-northern Victoria on December 27, after she went missing that afternoon, and two teenage girls aged 13 and 14 died in a boating accident in Tamworth, NSW on the same day.

Supervision, checking pool fences and gates and knowing CPR are also lines of defence to protect the lives of our loved ones, but learning to swim is key. I cannot stress strongly enough that now is the time to get your children enrolled in swimming lessons if they are not already learning to swim. We live in Australia, where the water is an intrinsic part of our lifestyle, and bodies of water are everywhere. The sooner a child is able to get themselves to the side of the pool after falling in, the better.

Swimming lessons must be a non negotiable part of a child’s routine, from six months of age, until they have reached the recommended swimming milestones, which will, on average, take most of their pre and primary school years if swimming once a week, all year round. Teaching your child to swim is giving them a gift for life. Just get your family swimming!