Re­gional wa­ter­ways a drown­ing haz­ard

Pilbara News - - News -

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.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Too many young chil­dren are drown­ing in re­gional wa­ter­ways.

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