Summer is here
Summer is finally here, which means lots of hot days, swimming, and fun! However, last summer was horrific in terms of drowning statistics with 51 people drowning in the first 37 days of summer, and 5 people drowning in less than 24 hours on New Year’s Day 2019. Simply put, it was shocking, and is one of the worst summers on record in this country.
Of the total drowning deaths in 2018/19, 45% occurred in summer. Over half (54%) of all beach drowning deaths last year occurred in summer, 2.6 times more than the next closest season (spring 21%). Many of the reported drowning deaths occurred in the ocean, but we have also seen incidents in rivers, lagoons and backyard pools during this time. As Australia is such a popular summer tourist destination, it is not surprising but very sad that half of all drowning deaths of overseas visitors occurred in summer.
For Australians, often we feel that summer is the time to relax, unwind, and enjoy time with friends and family, and in many situations that means swimming and recreating. The irony is that we can’t afford to become complacent when around water. Concerning research from Royal Life Saving Australia reports that the risk of drowning is actually increased during public holidays and school holidays, both of which happen later this month.
Accidental falls into water remain the leading activity prior to drowning among children under five, resulting in 84% of all drowning deaths in this age group last year. Of the 19 children under 4 who drowned in Australia last year, 12 did so in swimming pools.
For adults, swimming alone, intoxication, lack of swimming skills, existing medical issues, and lack of awareness of river and ocean currents played a part in many of the deaths, so please be aware of these risk factors, respect the water, and don’t take any chances, ever. It’s simply not worth it.
The first week of summer is the perfect time to carry out a summer water safety audit at home. Check pool gates and fences, learn CPR and get your children into swimming lessons asap. We have a School Holiday Special intensive learn to swim program this school holidays for just $8 a lesson, in blocks of 5 or 10 lessons, run over 1 or 2 weeks. If you are an adult who cannot swim – it’s never too late, we offer adult group and private learn to swim classes.
With a long hot summer ahead of us, please, stay safer this year.