Nepean Aquatic Centre and Eva Borys Swim School are both registered Swim Australia Swim Schools. We participate annually in Swim Australia’s Swim Safer week – 20 – 26th November this year. Visit us in centre for lots of fun, and information on safety, safety participation certificates, prizes and a visit from Paddles the Platypus at Eva Borys on November 25, and at Nepean Aquatic Centre the next week, 2nd December from 8.45 – 11.45!
    Swim safety is a major focus of Swim Australia. Swim Australia’s consistent message is that no measure can ever guarantee that children are safe in, on and around water.  It is only human for adults to sometimes lapse in their supervision of children in the home or while out and about.
    Children can and do find ways over fences, and even those who have had swimming lessons can still drown. For this reason the SwimSAFER message promotes and recommends the application of various layers to protect children from drowning – if one layer ‘fails’ then there is another behind it that may save their life.
    The layers of protection are:

  • Always supervise – constant active adult supervision
  • Use effective barriers – pool fences, locked doors, etc
  • Have children in swimming lessons – from an early age
  • Emergency planning – learn CPR, know the emergency numbers, always have a phone nearby.
  • Supervision:
    Supervision is key – we can never assume someone else is watching. Drowning is often silent.

  • Children cannot supervise other children – always have an adult present.
  • Under 5’s should always be within arms reach.
  • Reading a book or surfing the internet is not active supervision. .
  • Barriers:
    As proper supervision relies on people, it is never 100% reliable. This is why barriers need to be in place to lessen the chances of children getting to the water hazard. Key points to maximise barrier protection:

  • The pool must be fully isolated from the house by a four-sides complying fence.
  • Self-closing and self-latching gates are used.
  • The fence and gate are checked regularly to ensure they are in good working order.
  • Learn To Swim:
    Being able to swim well is one of the greatest gifts that can be bestowed upon a child – especially in Australia. Equally, a high level of swimming and water safety skills are necessary for full, enjoyable participation – as part of a safer framework. For young children, the basic swimming and water safety skills include:

  • Water familiarization, where small children explore and become comfortable in water environments, developing a respect for the water.
  • Gaining confidence through various water activities which include and lead into safe entries and exits, breath control, submersions, floating, propulsion with arms and legs, turning and backfloating.
  • Developing the ‘strokes’ so that your child can efficiently cover much greater distances.
  • Experience in differing aquatic environments, ie swimming in cold water, turbulent water, with clothing on, swimming without goggles, swimming without floaties, etc.
  • The whole ‘learn to swim’ experience should be positive; free from fear of force, with a focus of skill acquisition and safety around aquatic environments.
  • Combined with learning the physical skills, the child is developing parallel water safety knowledge.
  • Emergency Planning:
    In immersion incidents, every second counts. Having an Emergency Action Plan in place can reduce panic and save vital time. Consider the following:

  • If a child is missing, check the pool and other water hazards first. Seconds count!
  • Have a phone poolside for emergency use only.
  • If you haven’t already done so, revise, refresh or enroll yourself in a Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) course so you are prepared in case of an emergency. CPR accreditation is current for a year.
  • All the layers of protection need to be employed at the one time to ensure optimal water safety.

    2016 Swim SAFER Week Press Release:

    This year’s Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report announced a decrease in the number of children aged 0-4 drowning between July 2015 and June 2016, and a decrease in the number of drowning deaths at Inland Waterways, however 280 people still lost their lives during the reported period in Australia, including 9 children under the age of 14 drowning in NSW alone. Most drownings occurred in backyard swimming pools.

    NSW recorded the highest number of drownings than any other state with 96 deaths, and males accounted for 91% of all drowning deaths in NSW. 27% of all people who drowned were swimming or playing in the water just prior to drowning. In recent weeks, we have seen the tragic loss of sisters in Queensland, and of another little boy in Victoria, again to drowning in backyard pools. So whilst the decrease in drowning deaths in the 0-4 is encouraging, there is still much to be achieved in the area of swim safety in Australia.

    To this end, Swim Australia are holding their annual National Swim SAFER week from the 21st to 27th November 2016 – the theme of the campaign is PREVENT DROWNING and SAVE LIVES. The campaign aims to educate children, parents and caregivers about the four layers of protection – ALWAYS SUPERVISE, use EFFECTIVE BARRIERS (pool fencing, locked doors, etc), have children in SWIMMING LESSONS, & the importance of having effective EMERGENCY PLANNING – all carers should know the importance of CPR in a worst case scenario.

    Gary Toner, executive officer of Swim Australia, says “we want every child in Australia to learn to swim and be safer around the water. Without the four layers of protection we are putting our lives and the lives of our families at risk. No parent can afford to think that this won’t happen to them”.

    Nepean Aquatic Centre and Eva Bory’s Swim School will again be participating in this year’s annual SwimSAFER Week, with educational messages and materials about drowning prevention available at both centres. The local swim schools have also this month begun a local swim safety program in pre-schools, primary schools and childcare centers to educate local families regarding swim safety.

    Alan Bentley from Nepean Swim and Fitness said “As a result of various Swim Safety initiatives in this country, I do think the water safety messages and behaviors are really starting to be taken onboard and practiced in the wider community in recent years. However while drowning’s are still taking place in Australia, there is always room for improvement. We need to work together as a community to reduce the drowning statistics to zero.”

    girl swimming looking up

      Did you know that in March 2009, the American Medical Association’s Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine reported a study by the USA’s National Institute from Health that concluded:
      “Participating in formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in children between the ages of 1 to 4”.

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