It’s summer and nearly Christmas – happy days?
Most of me loves summer, especially the beginning of summer. Hot weather, the countdown to the end of the school year and Christmas, decorations in all the stores and lovely fresh fruit in season. Everything seems vibrant, and exciting and alive.
But part of me hates summer. Especially last summer, when drowning deaths across Australia increased by 16% on the previous year, with the first 6 weeks of summer seeing 59 drownings and 66 near drownings. At a time when most of us are celebrating, I can’t help but reflect on the senseless loss of life, the families of those drowning victims, and the pain they have gone through.
December is a particularly dangerous month. We are all busy, rushed and stressed, jugging multiple Christmas parties and commitments, shopping, and getting ready for the big day. This is particularly true for parents of small children, as we all want to make our child’s Christmases magical and perfect. However, when it comes to water safety, we just can’t afford to get distracted by all the extra noise and tasks that surround us at this time of year.
We must remind ourselves to always put safety first. This means no online shopping on the mobile or checking out all the beautiful Christmas decorating ideas on Instagram while supervising the children swimming in the pool. This means ignoring the arrival of a package at the front door while bathing the kids. It means having a designated adult pool supervisor at every backyard BBQ or pool party, and emptying ice buckets and eskys when the ice has melted. It means avoiding alcohol when swimming, and when responsible for children swimming. It means fencing inflatable pools that are dragged out of storage as the weather warms up.
It also may be tempting to put the children’s activities on hold to save time and money in the busy lead up to Christmas, but consistency is hugely important for children when learning to swim, so please prioritise your child’s swimming lesson no matter what else is going on. In the grand scheme of things, it could be the most important half hour of your week.
Stay Safer this Summer.