Swim safety is a major focus of Swim Australia. Swim Australia’s consistent message is that no measure can ever guarantee that children are safe in, on and around water. It is only human for adults to sometimes lapse in their supervision of children in the home or while out and about.
Children can and do find ways over fences, and even those who have had swimming lessons can still drown. For this reason the SwimSAFER message promotes and recommends the application of various layers to protect children from drowning – if one layer ‘fails’ then there is another behind it that may save their life.
The layers of protection are:
Supervision is key – we can never assume someone else is watching. Drowning is often silent.
As proper supervision relies on people, it is never 100% reliable. This is why barriers need to be in place to lessen the chances of children getting to the water hazard. Key points to maximise barrier protection:
Learn To Swim:
Being able to swim well is one of the greatest gifts that can be bestowed upon a child – especially in Australia. Equally, a high level of swimming and water safety skills are necessary for full, enjoyable participation – as part of a safer framework. For young children, the basic swimming and water safety skills include:
In immersion incidents, every second counts. Having an Emergency Action Plan in place can reduce panic and save vital time. Consider the following:
All the layers of protection need to be employed at the one time to ensure optimal water safety.
2016 Swim SAFER Week Press Release:
This year’s Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report announced a decrease in the number of children aged 0-4 drowning between July 2015 and June 2016, and a decrease in the number of drowning deaths at Inland Waterways, however 280 people still lost their lives during the reported period in Australia, including 9 children under the age of 14 drowning in NSW alone. Most drownings occurred in backyard swimming pools.
NSW recorded the highest number of drownings than any other state with 96 deaths, and males accounted for 91% of all drowning deaths in NSW. 27% of all people who drowned were swimming or playing in the water just prior to drowning. In recent weeks, we have seen the tragic loss of sisters in Queensland, and of another little boy in Victoria, again to drowning in backyard pools. So whilst the decrease in drowning deaths in the 0-4 is encouraging, there is still much to be achieved in the area of swim safety in Australia.
To this end, Swim Australia are holding their annual National Swim SAFER week from the 21st to 27th November 2016 – the theme of the campaign is PREVENT DROWNING and SAVE LIVES. The campaign aims to educate children, parents and caregivers about the four layers of protection – ALWAYS SUPERVISE, use EFFECTIVE BARRIERS (pool fencing, locked doors, etc), have children in SWIMMING LESSONS, & the importance of having effective EMERGENCY PLANNING – all carers should know the importance of CPR in a worst case scenario.
Gary Toner, executive officer of Swim Australia, says “we want every child in Australia to learn to swim and be safer around the water. Without the four layers of protection we are putting our lives and the lives of our families at risk. No parent can afford to think that this won’t happen to them”.
Nepean Aquatic Centre and Eva Bory’s Swim School will again be participating in this year’s annual SwimSAFER Week, with educational messages and materials about drowning prevention available at both centres. The local swim schools have also this month begun a local swim safety program in pre-schools, primary schools and childcare centers to educate local families regarding swim safety.
Alan Bentley from Nepean Swim and Fitness said “As a result of various Swim Safety initiatives in this country, I do think the water safety messages and behaviors are really starting to be taken onboard and practiced in the wider community in recent years. However while drowning’s are still taking place in Australia, there is always room for improvement. We need to work together as a community to reduce the drowning statistics to zero.”
Did you know that in March 2009, the American Medical Association’s Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine reported a study by the USA’s National Institute from Health that concluded:
“Participating in formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in children between the ages of 1 to 4”.
NEPEAN AQUATIC CENTRE
PHONE 4730 8900
16-19 Lambridge Pl, Penrith
EVA BORY’S SWIM SCHOOL
PHONE 4728 8400
14 Bromley Rd, Emu Plains