Make your resolution to be safer, all year round

Happy New Year! How are your New Year’s Resolutions going…..? Maybe this year we could all commit to some Water Safety resolutions, and implementing them all year round?

Supervise – Keep Watch! A lapse in adult supervision was the major risk factor in 100% of all toddler drowning deaths last year, and drowning remains the number one cause of accidental death in children under 5, with most deaths in this age group occurring in backyard pools. 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. Never assume someone else is watching.

Be aware of your location. Swim in patrolled areas only at the beach, and be aware of currents, especially in unfamiliar waterways.

Learn To Swim. Every water safety education programme has a common message – learn to swim – from babies to children to adults. It is a proven fact that swimming lessons save lives. The sooner your child can get safety back to the edge of the pool unaided, the better. Make this year your year to get your kids into lessons, and to learn yourself if required.

Fence the pool & shut the gate. Accidental falls into water remain the leading activity prior to drowning among children under five. Check the fence is safe and cannot be climbed, and that the pool gate is self latching. Barriers provide an important extra layer of protection but are never a substitute for constant adult supervision.

Watch your mate – don’t let your mates drink and drown. The message is simple: wear a lifejacket when on the river, avoid consumption of alcohol and drugs around water, know your limits, don’t take any risks, and never swim alone.

Respect the river. We are very lucky to live so near to the beautiful Nepean River, however 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. Royal Life Saving Australia’s Respect the River education program has decreased river drownings by 18% since its inception in 2015, however we still have some way to go.

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 2024.

Let’s all make 2024 a year to improve the swimming and water safety skills of all Australians and to see more local children reach all of the recommended swimming benchmarks, for lifelong safe and active participation in physical aquatic activities and recreation. If your children are not yet in lessons – please enrol them. If your children are learning to swim – keep them in lessons until they are truly competent.