There’s nothing like summer on the Gold Coast, is there? The sun, the surf, the sand – it’s a family’s dream come true!
But as we spend more time in the water, it’s also an important time to brush up on your water safety skills and remember the importance of staying water safe.
“Sadly many Australian swim and lifesaving experts are predicting we’ll see the impacts of fewer childhood lessons through an increase in drowning incidents this summer,” Kingswim Queensland Area Manager Natalie Fletcher says. “As Queenslanders we were incredibly lucky to get back to group activities like swim lessons way back in June. However, it’s always worth giving ourselves and our kids a reminder on water safe practices in summer.”
So, just as we make and review bushfire plans each year and reinforce other safety messages with our kids, Natalie says we should also reinforce water safety messages, especially in summer. To help, she has revealed some good conversation starters and tips…
- Check in on your child’s confidence – ensure both you and your child are aware of their skill and ability and remind them they don’t need to prove that ability to anyone else. There’s no denying kids can show off in groups but having an open conversation can help avoid situations where they might try something they shouldn’t.
- Be supportive – when you chat to your kids about their skill in the water you may find they lack confidence. Be supportive and encouraging to ensure you can both have fun and enjoy the water together.
- Tailor your talk to the conditions – Royal Life Saving has fantastic resources on water safety for different environments such as the beach, rivers or pools, which can help kids identify the different dangers and survival skills required for each.
- Back up – it really does take a village and while you will never take your eyes off the kids in the water, another set of eyes never hurts. Sharing your child’s ability with other adults in your group can also help them keep a better eye out for signs of struggle. You can also encourage your kids to be part of ‘the watch’ and keep an eye out for their buddies from ashore.
“Summer is a great time to observe kids’ real life swimming ability and see where they might need more support,” says Natalie. “We often see a new-found confidence in children who put their skills from lessons into practice over summer. They come back from holidays excited, confident and hungry to continue their lessons, which we love.”