Ef­fort to stop drown­ings

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Kenji Sato

Sandy Becker is on a mis­sion to pre­vent chil­dren from drown­ing in Aus­tralia.

It’s a big task — last year there were 291 drown­ings across the coun­try, 45 per cent of which were chil­dren under the age of four.

There were also 685 peo­ple hos­pi­talised for non-fa­tal drown­ings, many of which led to brain in­jury and other last­ing con­di­tions.

‘‘That is a hor­rific statis­tic which shows there is a huge risk for chil­dren who don’t know how to swim prop­erly,’’ Ms Becker said.

She will be vis­it­ing schools and the Co­bram Ba­rooga Swim­ming Club to teach chil­dren, par­ents and teach­ers about wa­ter safety.

Ms Becker is a YMCA swim­ming teacher and pool life­guard, but she said drown­ings could just as eas­ily hap­pen out­side the pool.

‘‘There are a lot of chil­dren in Co­bram that live on farms where there are dams, tanks, chan­nels and wa­ter troughs that could eas­ily drown a child,’’ she said.

‘‘That’s why I’ve been try­ing to push swim­ming lessons. It’s a skill for life, and I would love it if ev­ery child in Aus­tralia could learn to swim.’’

Royal Life Sav­ing Aus­tralia’s 2016-17 na­tional drown­ing re­port found in­land wa­ter­ways were the main lo­ca­tions of drown­ings, with 97 deaths in that time.

Learn­ing to swim: Trikki Kidz in Ba­rooga learn how to stay safe around wa­ter.

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