Regional waterways a drowning hazard
With recent heavy rainfall and flooding across several States, the Royal Life Saving Society Australia is issuing a warning to all parents and carers in rural and remote areas about the risk of drowning for young children.
Figures released by RLSSA show in the past 10 years, 88 children under the age of five have drowned in regional and remote areas of the country.
RLSSA chief executive Justin Scarr said key locations of concern in rural areas included rivers, creeks and streams, lakes, dams and lagoons and other common hazards around rural properties, such as ponds, tanks, troughs, livestock dips and irrigation channels. “Our rivers con- tinue to claim too many lives in preventable tragedies, including lives of young children in regional Australia,” he said.
“It’s important people respect the river and follow four simple safety tips — wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol around water, never swim alone and learn how to save a life.”
Mr Scarr said in all drowning cases, adult supervision had temporarily lapsed or was entirely absent.
“Children under five are the age group most at risk of drowning,” he said.
“While active adult supervision is the best strategy for reducing the risk of drowning, using a child-safe play area on rural properties is also a great idea, especially if water hazards on rural properties can’t be fenced, such as dams and rivers.”
The RLSSA gave tips to create a child-safe play area involving creating a barrier between children and water hazards.
These included being easy to supervise and containing toys and equipment to ensure they were fun places to play in.
On rural properties, a childsafe play area can be more effective than a fence, particularly for aquatic locations that cannot be fenced, such as rivers and dams.
Other strategies for reducing child drowning were water awareness and CPR.
Too many young children are drowning in regional waterways.