National week a timely reminder for us to swim safer

Shelby McAuliffe (3) front, Hayden Hoey (4), Lakayla Atkins (5).
Shelby McAuliffe (3) front, Hayden Hoey (4), Lakayla Atkins (5).

WITH the coming of hot weather, National SwimSafer week is a timely reminder for all of us to swim safer.

Kirby Swim Mandurah are doing their part and teaching their young charges how to act safer in the water.

Children are being taught basic CPR, how to safely rescue their friends and they are swimming in their clothes to see how it feels.

Hayden Hoey learns to float in his pyjamas.

Parents received information on drowning prevention.

Kirby Swim company director Saskia Kirby said the numbers mentioned in the National Drowning Report 2014/2015 are “ridiculous”.

“In the zero to five age group there are more drowning (deaths) in summer than winter and it happens more in pools than in waterways,” she said.

“The three-year-old who drowned recently is a classic case where a child has pushed the toys to get over the fence.

“Children are risk takers; it’s how they explore, so parents need to implement what we call layers of protection.”

These layers of protection include teaching kids to swim, learning CPR, fencing pools and active supervision of children.

In all cases of drowning in children under five, supervision was either intermittent or lacking altogether, according to the National Drowning Report 2014/2015.

“Active supervision” of a child means they are constantly watched by an adult who is within arms’ reach at all times.

According to the report the key elements are be prepared, be within arms’ reach, all of your attention, and all of the time.

Mason Head and Isaac Ker-David with their Kirby Swim instructors.

Swimming pools were the leading location for drowning in the zero to five years old age group, accounting for more than half (54 per cent) of all drowning deaths.

From July 2014 to June 2015, 26 Australian children aged zero to four years old drowned.

This is an increase of six drowning deaths on last year’s total of 20 drowning deaths.

Falls into the water accounted for 81 per cent most of the drowning deaths in this age group.

This was followed by bathing which claimed the lives of three children in 2014/15.

More than 300 swim schools across Australia are taking part in SwimSafely week.

This year’s theme is emergency action planning and encourages families to have a plan in place when swimming and playing in water.

They are encouraged to take some basic steps before using the water like finding out the weather forecast, making sure there are enough adults to supervise children, making sure adults can swim well enough to rescue a child and if the area is supervised by a lifeguard.