Olympian Mack Horton’s pool safety tips
How to keep your kids safe around water this summer.
As the weather heats up and swimming pools beckon, Olympic swimming gold medallist and RACV ambassador Mack Horton has warned parents and carers to take extra care watching children around water.
The 400-metre freestyle champion says a child can drown in as little as 20 seconds. “That’s as long as it takes to choose a song, send a text or dry yourself with a towel, so really, really keep your eyes on them,” he says. “Keeping your family safe around water is your responsibility.”
The warning comes as the latest data from the Royal Life Saving Society reveals that 507 children under five years of age have died in drowning incidents in Australia between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2020. About half these deaths occurred in swimming pools, mostly in backyard pools.
And for every child under five killed by drowning, a further eight are admitted to hospital and many suffer life-long health implications.
Life Saving Victoria’s principal research associate Dr Bernadette Matthews fears an increase in drowning deaths this summer because after months of COVID-19 restrictions, many people are unprepared for swimming.