Time to learn to swim
THERE has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of near drownings, with 85 WA children hospitalised following a non-fatal incident over the last 10 years.
The figures come from Royal Life Saving Society WA’s latest report, which revealed males were three times more likely to drown than females, and that children were five times more likely to drown in regional and remote areas than in the metropolitan area.
The report revealed it was not necessarily pools that were the culprit, with children more likely to drown while swimming at inland waterway locations, such as rivers, creeks and dams.
It reported that over the past 10 years, 18 children aged 5-14 years drowned, and Aboriginal children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds were at a higher risk of drowning.
Royal Life Saving WA’s manager of research and health promotion Lauren Nimmo said drowning affected all communities and children should have access to ongoing swimming and water safety programs.
“Royal Life Saving is committed to teaching every child to swim and survive and we recognise that this task is all the more important given WA’s climate and lifestyle that encourages so much activity in and on the water,” she said.
“The challenge we face is to ensure each new generation acquires these skills, and no one misses out. Currently some children from diverse cultural backgrounds, disadvantaged circumstances and regional areas are not having this opportunity.”
Royal Life Saving WA aims to teach more than 200,000 WA children to swim this year
Lifesavers Sheldon Manley and Yvonne Pangler on the job.