Summer is definitely on its way, and it’s going to be a scorcher. So naturally, this means children are going to be spending a lot of time by the pool or at the beach to keep cool. But with the hot weather and an increased exposure to water comes a huge safety risk – and the numbers will rock you.
The Keep Watch campaign
In a recent report, the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia revealed that 965 children under the age of five have died from drowning in Australia over the past 25 years.
In response to this, they’re launching the Keep Watch campaign, urging parents and carers to supervise children at all times around water.
“It can only take a few moments for a child to slip away unnoticed, fall into the water and drown,” said Justin Scarr, CEO at Royal Life Saving Society – Australia.
“Distractions, like browsing social media on your phone, attending to another child, or ducking inside to grab something can have tragic consequences if a toddler is left unattended by water.
“It’s important for parents and carers to take extra safety precautions.
“Always Keep Watch of children around water,” said Justin.
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The major risk factor
To date, swimming pools are the leading location for drownings among children aged 0-4 years, accounting for 52 percent of all deaths.
Justin says to regularly check that pool fences and gates are in working order, and never prop the pool gate open.
All parents can relate to the pull of their phone while their children are happily engaged in play, but when it comes to water play – it’s best to put your phone aside.
One single lapse in adult supervision was the major risk factor in 100 percent of toddler drownings, and Justin says it doesn’t happen as most people would expect.
“It is quick and silent,” he said.
Non-fatal drowning incidents
If that wasn’t enough to urge parents to be more proactive around their young children and water, perhaps the following numbers on non-fatal incidents involving water just might.
The shocking research report has also revealed that for every fatal drowning there were over seven thousand non-fatal drowning incidents as well, resulting in hospitalisation. As a result of this, many children live with a permanent disability. And it’s all preventable.
Because of this, the Royal Life Saving recommends the following Keep Watch safety tips to keep children safe from drowning:
- Actively supervise children around water
- Restrict Access
- Teach water awareness
- Learn how to resuscitate
Thankfully, research also shows that there has been a reduction in the five-year average child drowning rate, primarily due to legislation around pool fencing and child drowning prevention campaigns that have saved more than 550 lives over the past 20 years.
“But we won’t stop campaigning until the number is zero,” says Justin.
You can visit Keepwatch.com.au and join the conversation online via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, using #KeepWatch