Keeping our kids safe this summer

Learning to swim: Three-year-old Aiden Harris is learning to swim at Gloucester Olympic Pool and Hydrotherapy Pool with swim instructor, Kim Hebblewhite. Photo: Anne Keen
Learning to swim: Three-year-old Aiden Harris is learning to swim at Gloucester Olympic Pool and Hydrotherapy Pool with swim instructor, Kim Hebblewhite. Photo: Anne Keen

Part of keeping our kids safe this summer is understanding what we can do to so they can safety enjoy the water.

Royal Life Saving has launched a new awareness campaign urging parents and guardians not to be complacent about child safety around water. 

MidCoast Council aquatic supervisor, John ‘Tad’ Parish said the ‘Keep Watch’ campaign is about reminding the community about how they can keep children safe around any water source.

According to Royal Life Saving, 461 children under the age of five have lost their lives drowning over the past 15 years; of these incidents, half were in home pools and spas. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children 0 to four years of age. 

The campaign has four Keep Watch messages; Supervise, Restrict Access, Water Awareness, Resuscitate.

Gloucester Olympic Pool and Hydrotherapy Pool runs under the Royal Life Saving model with three rules of entry:

Rule number one: Children under 10-years-old should not be allowed entry unless under active supervision of a person 18 years or older.

Rule number two: For young children ages zero to five years and non-swimmers, be in the water with your children within arms length. For children ages six to 10 years, constant active supervision is required.

Rule number three: Give your children all of your attention, stay close to them and keep watch continuously!

“Lifeguards are not babysitters,” Tad said.

Explaining the importance of active supervision, not only in a public pool, but in any waterway.

A lot of people in the community utilise the many different water sources around the region including rivers, lakes, damns, private and public pools and the ocean. No matter where you cool off this summer, the message is the same; understand your child's ability to swim and keep an active watch.

Royal Life Saving state that distractions like answering the phone, attending to another child or ducking away to grab something can have tragic consequences if a child is left unattended by water.

In regard to private pools, actively supervise children around water, check your pool fence and gate, and never prop the pool gate open. Swimming lessons are great, but they are no substitute for active supervision and a pool fence in good working order.

Royal Life Saving state that in 100 per cent of child drowning cases in home swimming pools, active adult supervision had either lapsed or was entirely absent.

 Visit www.keepwatch.com.au for more information.