How to keep kids safe around water
We all know that small children are curious creatures. Unfortunately, this curiosity makes unsupervised time around water extremely dangerous.
It doesn’t even have to be a large body of water – while pools are the most common location for drownings in young children, just a few centimetres can prove deadly.
The RLSSA’s Keep Watch program comprises four simple steps to ensure small children stay safe while having fun around water.
The RLSSA notes that 100 per cent of fatal drownings are the result of a lack of or lapse in adult supervision.
Monitoring children around water is the single most important thing you can do to keep them safe. That means staying within arms reach and keeping eyes on the kids in and around water at all times. Entrust supervision to adults only, don’t delegate it to older kids.
It can take as little as 20 seconds for a child to drown (and is often silent) so make sure there’s another adult on watch if you need to go to the bathroom, get a drink or leave the pool for any reason. If there isn’t, take the child with you.
In Victoria, any pool that can contain water 30cm or deeper (including indoor pools, spas, wading pools and above-ground pools) must have a compliant safety barrier with self-closing and self-latching gates.
Many pools must also be registered with their local council.
Water safety has been part of the Victorian education curriculum since 2017 but you can begin teaching them about water safety well before they start school.
Water familiarisation classes that teach basic water safety and education are run for children as young as six months. Even a child that is a known swimmer can drown so never leave kids unsupervised even if you believe them confident in water.
If a child goes missing, check all water locations inside and outside your home before checking anywhere else.
In the case of emergency, call Triple Zero (000) and know how to perform CPR – you can find your nearest CPR course via the RLSSA website. Performing CPR can start or maintain breathing and circulation until an ambulance arrives.