Keeping children safe around water

Us Aussies are so lucky to have access to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, lakes and rivers all on our front door step. Swimming and being around water is second nature to us.

However, this also means that as parents and caregivers, we need to be at the top of our game when it comes to protecting and keeping our children safe around water.

We all know that children are naturally curious and are often drawn to water.

Tragically, drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for Australian children. A super confronting statistic and one we are determined to change.

We know education is key to preventing deaths caused by drowning. That’s why we’ve put together our top tips to keep your little ones safe this summer,

But before we get to our top tips, did you know it’s not just large bodies of water that children can drown in?

It’s scary but true. Often we associate drowning with pools, spas, beaches, lakes, dams and rivers, but did you know that it only takes a few centimeters of water and just 20 seconds for a child to drown? Here are some common household drowning hazards you may not have thought about:

  • Eskies, particularly at get togethers involving alcohol
  • Nappy soaking buckets and other buckets of water
  • Pet bowls
  • Toilets
  • Fish ponds
  • Shallow baths
  • Paddling or playing in flood waters
  • Neighbours pools (children love climbing and can fall from fences into neighbours pools)

Hot tip 1 If you are ever in a scenario where you cannot find your child at home, check all bodies of water first large and small. It may just be the difference between life and death.

Hot tip 2 Get into the habit of removing the bath plug before you remove your child from their bath. That way you won’t forget to take it out.

Okay, so how do I keep my little ones safe around water?

Thankfully there are a number of things we can do to keep our little loves safe in and around water, here are our ‘top five to stay alive’.

1). Reduce the risk

  • Know where bodies of water are around your home and remove or limit access to them.
  • Regularly check pool fence barriers and gates to ensure they are in good working order and that they close properly and easily. You shouldn’t need to physically push a pool gate closed yourself – they should be self-closing.
  • Never prop a pool fence open even for a second.
  • If you’re visiting someone’s home who doesn’t have children and might not immediately
  • think of the drowning risk, do a quick check of the pool gate yourself.
  • Remove hazards such as BBQs, furniture and pot plants from around pool barriers as children can use these to climb over fences.

2). Active supervision

  • Actively supervise kids when in and around water, making sure you are not distracted by things like people or phones.
  • If your child is in the pool you should be supervising them from inside the pool fence.
  • Children under five should never be more than an arm’s length away from you when in water, this includes shallow baths and wading pools.
  • As mature as older children may be, they can be easily distracted. Never allow older children to supervise younger children in the water.

3). Swim within the red and yellow flags

  • When you are at the beach always make sure to swim within the flags.
  • The swimming area between flags has been deemed the safest spot by lifeguards and should be free from rips and other risks.
  • If you get in trouble whilst in between the flags, try to raise your arm, life guards will be watching ready to help.
  • If there are no flags at the beach this means that lifeguards are not patrolling the area and swimming is not recommended.

4). Learn to swim

  • Get your little ones comfortable in the water and enroll them in swimming lessons.
  • Lots of swim schools start swimming lessons for babies as young as six weeks.
  • Providing your children with confidence in the water is a skill they will use for life.

5). Learn First Aid

  • First aid saves lives! It’s that simple.
  • Enroll in one of our courses to learn infant, child and adult CPR as well as exactly what you should do if someone has drowned.

So there you have it! Our top tips to keep little ones safe in and around water this summer.

Remember first aid saves lives. If you want to know exactly what to do if someone has drowned, book into one of our first aid courses now.

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