This week is Water Safety Week, and with summer just starting and the recent release of the 2019 National Drowning Report, it couldn’t be better timed. We’re talking you through the key points highlighted in the report, and sharing our top tips for getting your bubs water-ready.
From July 1 2018 to June 30 2019 an estimated 276 people lost their lives in a drowning incident – a 10% increase on last year – with an estimated 584 people experiencing non-fatal drowning incidents.
We also experienced the hottest summer on record, which lead to a 17% increase in summer drowning deaths in comparison with the 10-year average. As we rocket toward another stinking hot summer, we can’t help but wonder what the numbers will look like this time around?
The good news is, drowning deaths in children aged zero to four decreased by 30% in comparison to the 10-year average, while children aged five to 14 remained the lowest age group for drowning.
The report attributes the consistently low numbers of drowning deaths in the younger age groups to strong ‘Keep Watch’ messaging, highlighting the importance of active supervision, physical barriers to water and water familiarisation for keeping children safe.
With this in mind, what can we do over the warmer months to see the numbers of drowning deaths for children fall even further?
Leading Australian swim school Kingswim have revealed their top tips for maintaining and improving water safety through summer.
Kingswim Area Manager and mother of four Anne Brown knows that families eagerly await the summer months, having booked holidays at the beach or camping trips up the creek.
“These special family moments are why it’s so important to provide every member of the family with the skills to have a safe and enjoyable holiday that’s memorable for the right reasons,” she says. “The summer months are a fantastic time for parents too, as they get to see firsthand the improvements in their child’s development and the hard work of lessons paying off.”
SUMMER HOLIDAY SWIM CHECKLIST
- Lessons – when planning a holiday or in the lead up to summer, ensure your child is booked into lessons and can complete at least one full term before any major swimming trips. If this isn’t possible, classes like Kingswim’s Fast Track are a great way to catch up or refresh your child’s skills before summer holidays.
- Skill level – ask your child’s teacher for an update on their swim skill level before going on holidays and if there is anything you can continue practising while away.
- Confidence – check in with your child about their confidence levels in the water and refresh key water safety tips together. Royal Life Saving has great resources on beach and river safety.
- Support – if your child lacks confidence in the water, be supportive and encouraging to ensure you can both have fun and enjoy the water together.
- Communication – let friends and family know your child’s ability level. This will help children enjoy the water within their limits and means extra eyes watching out for safety and signs of trouble.
- Supervision – never take your eyes off kids in the water.
- Protection – any time spent outside, especially in the water, means sun protection is crucial. Remember to use water-resistant sunscreen and reapply every few hours.
- Energy and hydration – swimming is exhausting, especially for little ones, bring enough food and water to replenish energy and hydration levels.