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.
Last year I shared a similar blog to raise awareness about safety around water, and once again the issue is a concern this summer with alarming new research prompting the Royal Life Saving to urge parents not to be complacent about their child’s safety.
New research has revealed the tragic impact drowning has had on toddlers in the past 25 years. 965 children under the age of 5 have died due to drowning, and approximately 7,361 children have had a non-fatal drowning resulting in hospitalisation. Swimming pools are the leading location for drowning deaths, accounting for 52% of all drowning deaths between 1 July 2002 - 30 June 2018 Active adult supervision either lapsed or was completely absent in ALL cases. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, even more so because it’s preventable.
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.