It seems every time I turn on the news there has been another tragic drowning.
Summer is the time for celebrations and fun in the sun, and as my family live close to the beach we spend a lot of the summer swimming.
Since December there have been 17 drowning deaths.
My heart broke watching the mother of a 14 year old boy on the news, talking about her son, who at that stage was missing feared drowned. It was just devastating and I could not imagine the grief she was feeling.
The Keep Watch Campaign has been running for over 20 years and it aims to prevent the drowning deaths of children under five. Even though we supervise our kids, it’s the everyday distractions that take your attention away for a matter of seconds, and sadly this is all it takes for a child to drown.
The World’s Most Costly Pizza film below with Matt Preston explains how those little distractions are the most costly.
Royal Life Saving’s Keep Watch program offers resources and educational programs including First Aid training and swim safety lessons to reinforce the four key drowning prevention actions – restrict access to water, teach children water safety, learn how to resuscitate, and above all, always keep watch.
Pool owners and parents are encouraged to always actively supervise kids when using the household pool, using the below guide to assure safety.
- Be Prepared – Always make sure you have everything ready when going swimming e.g. towels, goggles, dry clothes, drinking water
- Be Close – Always be within arm’s reach of your child/children
- All Of Your Attention – Focus all of your attention on your child/children and watch, talk and play with them when they are in the water
- All Of The Time – Never leave your child alone in the water, nor should they be left in the care of an older child
Please remember these tragedies happen so quickly and suddenly, we must Keep Watch at all times.
According to the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2016, 83 children died in private swimming pools between 2002-2015, with children under five years old most at risk of drowning death and injury this summer. In 59% of cases, supervision was completely absent, and in six per cent of cases, older siblings were left to supervise younger children.
Royal Life Saving NSW Operations Manager Michael Ilinsky said these recent tragedies have again highlighted the urgency of the Keep Watch message.
“A supervised child doesn’t drown. It’s common at this time of year to have family gatherings and backyard BBQs with friends, which brings with it all sorts of distractions into the home.
“Answering the door, preparing food, changing a sibling’s nappy, and answering a call are all distractions that leave children vulnerable to drowning, making active supervision critical – be prepared, be close, and give all of your attention, all of the time.
“Most importantly, never ever leave children unsupervised around the pool. If you are required to leave the pool area take your children with you and don’t leave children in the care of older siblings,” said Ilinsky.
About Royal Life Saving – Australia
Royal Life Saving Society – Australia works to prevent drowning and facilitate healthy, active lifestyles by equipping all Australians with water safety skills.
There is no one reason Australians drown, so there is no one simple solution. For that reason, our approach needs to reflect the complexity of the range of issues that result in drowning deaths. For the past 120 years, the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia has worked to harness the strengths of the communities we work with to reduce drowning and turn everyday people into everyday community lifesavers. For more information, visit www.royallifesaving.com.au.
Please remember to Keep Watch xx