Time to learn to swim

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News -

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

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d445004

Life­savers Shel­don Man­ley and Yvonne Pan­gler on the job.

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