TIPS FOR STAYING SAFER IN, ON & AROUND WATER
The days are getting longer, the weather is warming up and the temptation to bomb dive Dad in the backyard pool, is building.
But despite the excitement of Spring, Swim Australia CEO, Ross Gage is asking all parents to ensure their family and pool premises, are season ready.
“No matter whether it’s fresh or salt water, a backyard pool, an ocean, creek or a splash in the bath tub, being able to swim, and enjoy the water, is not only a rite of passage for every Australian child – it’s a way of life,” Mr
Gage said. “But accidents can, and sadly do happen,” he said.
Each year, around 100 families, present a child under the age of five years, to emergency rooms, following an immersion accident.
Between 2010 and 2011, 28 children, aged four years and under, drowned – 22 were boys. Alarmingly, Swim Australia - the leading national authority on Swim Schools for learn-to-swim and water safety – says, 43 per cent of these incidents occurred within swimming pools.
“While learn-to-swim and swim classes are recommended all year round, now is a good time to not only reacquaint or re-enrol the family with swimming lessons, but check your pool and its premises are free from
potential harm,” said Mr Gage.
“It may take a few minutes, but proper preparation is the key to a successful and safer swimming season,” he said.
A few tips to consider:
Regularly check the pool fence and gate are in working order, with proper fencing and self-closing or self-latching gates;
Remove items that can be used to climb the fence - eg, chairs, tables, pot plants;
Never prop the gate open;
Remove temptation from in and around the pool when not in use - eg, toys, floaties and other swim aids;
And constantly reinforce the home’s water safety rule – “I only go swimming with a grown up.”
But according to Mr Gage, ensuring a backyard pool is safe and childfriendly, is only the beginning. “A family home is filled - in and around the premises - with potential water hazards,” he said.
To help ensure the family home is safer this season, also check:
Wading pools or spas are gated or securely closed;
Nappy buckets filled with water are kept elevated or have a lid;
Drink and ice buckets are tightly closed or out of reach;
Dog bowls are kept shallow and away from children or replaced with animal specific water bubblers;
Bird baths are elevated;
Water fountains/features have a wire mesh above the water line;
Livestock water containers or troughs are child restricted;
Toilets have a self closing or fitted safety lid.
“Being able to swim not only makes one safer around water, but leads to a lifetime of health benefits, and general enjoyment,” said Mr Gage.
To find out more about Swim Australia, log on to www.swimaustralia.org.au.
To learn how to stay safer in, on and around the water, tap on the SwimSAFER tab, and search for ‘Layers of Protection’. In just one click, you can even find your closest swim school registered with Swim Australia.
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