Swimming has been a huge part of my life from as far back as I can remember.
Most of my childhood memories are of my brothers and I splashing about in our backyard pool.
I’ve always loved the water.
Like most Aussies, I can’t imagine my life without either a pool or the surf close by.
But our traditional past time is one that requires caution. Growing up I certainly took for granted my ability to swim and survive in the water, but becoming a parent has prompted me to not only ensure that my kids learn how to swim, but that I am always supervising. Because as fun as the water is, it’s only safe while you’re watching.
This summer, Royal Life Saving is urging parents not to be complacent about their child’s safety around water.
New research has revealed the tragic impact drowning has had on toddlers in the past 15 years. 461 children under the age of 5 have died due to drowning, an average of 31 per year, of which half were in home pools and spas. Active adult supervision either lapsed or was completely absent in ALL cases. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, even more so because it’s preventable.
For every toddler drowning death, approximately ten children are admitted to hospital as a result of non-fatal drowning. Although they survive, many suffer lifelong consequences.
There are so many cases that I could detail here, but to be honest, I find it too traumatic to share the details of the devastating loss that so many families experience. As a parent, I cannot begin to imagine the complete despair and anguish.
As parents we have a responsibility to always be supervising, no matter what.
The water is a power unto it’s own. Even as a strong swimmer I have found myself at the mercy of the power of water on many occasions. Yet thankfully due to years of experience I’ve learnt how to respect the water as well as appreciate my own abilities and limits.
Toddlers aren’t able to distinguish hazards, and they don’t know their own abilities yet. When we are near the water - Our children deserve ALL of our attention, ALL of the time!
Be prepared. Be close. All of your attention. All of the time.
For more information and to read the research in full please go to www.keepwatch.com.au