Teach your kids to be water proof
At a glance
- Home swimming pools are the most common areas for drowning.
- Keep your pool fenced and your kids supervised.
- Many organisations run water safety and swimming classes.
- Learning first-aid could mean the difference between life and death.
- Boating, surfing and rock fishing require life jackets and extra safety equipment.
- Only swim at patrolled beaches.
- Learn how to spot rips.
- Teach your kids if they get caught in a rip to stay calm and float to conserve energy.
Summer weather promises lots of swimming in beaches, rivers, lakes and pools, but with that also comes an increased risk of drowning, which peaks during the warmer months.
In young children, the greatest danger comes from being unsupervised when they are near water, including accidentally falling in to a pool, bathtub or even a laundry bucket.
Older kids need to know how to have fun safely whether they're surfing, swimming, skiing, boating or fishing.
Whatever your child's age or interests, the following safety tips can help prevent tragedy.
Be water safe and supervise
- Make sure your backyard pool fencing meets legal requirements – local councils can assist with this.
- Supervise children when in or around water, regardless of their swimming ability. Remember, a secure pool is not a substitute for adult supervision (and neither are flotation aids or inflatable pool toys).
- Keep pool filters covered so small children can't get into them and make sure there are no objects near your pool fence that children can use to climb over.
- Empty and deflate inflatable pools when not in use.
- When swimming in calm, inland waterways always enter the water feet first. You never know what objects lie beneath the surface of the water.
- Learning how to perform CPR could also mean the difference between life and death - click here to find your nearest course.
Learn to swim
Australia is an island and Australian's love swimming and watersports. So learning to swim is absolutely essential for both kids and adults.
NSW Sport and Recreation's Swim and Survive program operates in pools throughout regional NSW. Intensive learn to swim programs for children from 18 months through to 12 years are run between November and February each year. Adult learn to swim classes run throughout the year, depending on your location. Find your nearest participating poolor call 13 13 02 for more information.
The Royal Life Saving Society also runs programs in schools and Surf Life Saving clubs run ‘nippers' programs for kids.
Teach your kids to be beach smart
- Swim only on patrolled beaches, and always between the flags.
- Download the Beachsafe app to easily find patrolled beaches while you're on vacation.
- Obey beach signs and always follow lifeguards' instructions.
- Always swim, surf or fish with a buddy. Call 000 immediately if someone gets into trouble in or near the water.
- Rock fishing requires the right footwear and, like fishing from a boat, you should always wear a life jacket.
- Alcohol and water safety don't mix. Each year alcohol contributes to at least 20 per cent of all adult drowning deaths and at least 41 per cent in the 15–29 years age group.
- Watch this short video from Surf Life Saving and UNSW to teach your kids how to spot a rip current and what to do if they're caught in one:
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