Pool lessons save lives

Southern Telegraph - - News - Hay­ley God­dard

Kwinana and Rock­ing­ham par­ents are be­ing urged to en­rol their chil­dren in swimming lessons as early as six months old to pre­vent drown­ings, which ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port have in­creased 15 per cent in WA.

Ac­cord­ing to the Royal Life Sav­ing Na­tional Drown­ing Re­port re­leased last week, there were 39 drown­ings recorded in WA in the 2014-15 fi­nan­cial year, nine more than the year be­fore and a 15 per cent in­crease on the five-year aver- age. Of those who drowned, 72 per cent were males, with a high of nine recorded in the 25 to 34-year age group.

Na­tion­ally, the re­port found 271 peo­ple died as a re­sult of drown­ing, and although it was a 6 per cent re­duc­tion on the 10year av­er­age, it was a 2 per cent in­crease on the 2013-14 fi­nan­cial year re­port.

Of those deaths, 26 were chil­dren aged zero to four, an in­crease of 30 per cent on last year’s to­tal of 20.

Yet for chil­dren aged five to 14, there were nine deaths, which is why the Kwinana Rec- quatic Cen­tre is ad­vo­cat­ing that chil­dren be en­rolled in its in­fant pro­gram, where par­tic­i­pants de­velop wa­ter con­fi­dence and safety skills and learn how to float and move through the wa­ter.

The re­port found across all in­ci­dents, 20 per cent of deaths hap­pened at beaches and 16 per cent were as a re­sult of fall­ing into the wa­ter, yet for the zero to four years old age group swimming pools were the lead­ing lo­ca­tions for drown­ing deaths at 54 per cent.

RLSSWA com­mu­nity re­la­tions gen­eral man­ager Greg Tate said there were four sim­ple things par­ents could do to com­bat the rise of drown­ing deaths in chil­dren un­der five, par­tic­u­larly in pools.

“The first and most im­por­tant is adult su­per­vi­sion, or Keep Watch, the sec­ond is hav­ing an ap­proved bar­rier around your pool, with a gate that self closes and latches,” he said. “Thirdly, you should en­rol your chil­dren in in­fant aquat­ics lessons, and lastly you should learn re­sus­ci­ta­tion so if any of those three mea­sures fail, you ac­tu­ally have the abil­ity to save a life,” he said.

Pic­ture: Hay­ley God­dard

Emily Wal­lace and daugh­ter Scar­lett, eight months, swim teacher Cor­rine Jupp-Wil­liams, Allysha Ma­gro and son Tyler, 1, and Jade Hal­bert, with daugh­ter Mila, nine months, en­joy learn­ing to swim in the six to 12-month classes at Kwinana Rec­quatic Cen­tre.

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