New Year’s Water Safety Resolutions
Maybe this year, rather than the usual “eat and drink less, go to the gym more, pay off post Xmas debt” promises, we could all commit to some Water Safety resolutions?
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. Drowning remains the number 1 cause of accidental death in children under 5, and most deaths in this age group occur 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.
Learn To Swim. Every water safety education programme has a common message – learn to swim – from babies to children to adults. Swim Australia recently conducted research and was shocked to discover over half of Australian children are not learning to swim, and only 40% of adults rated themselves as proficient swimmers. 18% said their skills were poor and 6% claimed they didn’t know how to swim at all! The main reason for this lack of skill was because close to half of the people surveyed did not receive swimming lessons when they were young. 28% taught themselves to swim and another 30% were instructed by their parents. Make 2020 your year to learn, and/or to get your kids into lessons.
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 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 2020. 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 2021.
Wishing everyone a very safe and happy New Year!