With the weather warming up and summer fast approaching we are about to enter the most dangerous months for kids around the pool.
The recently released Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2011 found that 42 children aged 0-14 years drowned in Australia between 2010/11. Of those deaths 16 of them occurred around family and public swimming pools. This is an alarming figure when the majority of these deaths could have been avoided.
It is not surprising that 41 percent of all drowning deaths in Australia took place in summer and peaked in January. As a nation, we live in the water, from surfing to swimming, Australians can’t get enough of it and most kids are in the water before they can walk or talk. But how do we avoid losing our kids to the Aussie summer lifestyle?
For over 15 years Royal Life Saving’s Keep Watch program has been educating parents and carers on strategies to keep their children safe when in, on, or around the water by promoting the 4 Keep Watch actions:
– Supervise Your Child – Always be within arms’ reach.
– Restrict Access to Water – Provide barriers to water locations.
– Be Water Aware – Introduce your child to water through water awareness classes; discuss hazards and put rules in place at aquatic locations.
– Learn Resuscitation – Resuscitation is a skill for life. A rapid response is the best response in an emergency.
Without a doubt, the most effective way to keep your kids safe around the pool is active adult supervision. Nothing beats keeping your eyes on your kids and even if you think they are excellent swimmers, accidents still happen. In 46 percent of all drowning deaths around swimming pools falls occurred immediately prior to the drowning. The effectiveness of active adult supervision cannot be underestimated.
But don’t let that deter you from teaching your children to swim. It is still the best way to equip your child for a life around the water. In many cases knowing how to swim can make the difference between losing their life and keeping it.
Pool toys and products can also pose a threat to young children drawn to colourful toys left floating in the pool. Be sure to put all toys away after your time in the pool with the kids has come to an end.
While floaties and noodles are great products for kids to use as their confidence in the water is developing it can sometimes give parents a false sense of security regarding their child’s swimming ability. Adult supervision is still vital even when your child is wearing floaties.
Drowning is preventable. If parents and carers put simple safety measures in place it is possible to radically reduce the number of young lives lost around the pool this summer.