Water safety skills and learning to swim are life saving skills, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death to children and can occur quickly and silently in the bathtub, swimming pool or even a laundry bucket.
You can minimize the drowning hazards for toddlers and children in your home, here are our top water safety tips.
- Empty water from all containers, buckets, baths and paddling pools immediately after use. A child can drown in less than 5cm of water!
- Familiarise your child with water and arrange swimming lessons from 6 months of age. Please ensure you use a qualified and kind instructor.
- Ensure that you have constant visual eye contact with children when they are around water, a child can drown in 30 seconds!
- Install four sided fencing around your pool to ensure that it cannot be accessed without an adult. A pool fence is not a substitute for supervision.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before / during swimming or other water activities. Drinking alcohol while supervising children will impair good judgement.
- Don’t let swimmers hyperventilate before swimming or try to hold their breath underwater, this can cause “shallow water blackout” and drowning.
- Clear the pool area of toys so children are not tempted to enter the pool area unsupervised. Ensure chairs or pot plants are not placed next to the fence – they can be used by children to climb into the pool area.
- Conduct Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) course training and update your skills annually so you are able to respond in case of an emergency.
- Resuscitation posters are a good reminder to keep around pools and spas.
- Never leave an older child in charge of another child’s life in the pool; children don’t understand the serious risk of drowning when unattended.
- Ensure all of your child’s carers are aware of water hazards, can swim and have completed CPR training within the last year.
For some great further information see the following:
- Royal Life Saving Society Australia – Water Safety Fact Sheets
- Mayo Clinic – Water Safety
- Safe Kids Worldwide – Water Safety at Home
- Raising Children – Water Safety
For the PDF version of our fact sheet please see below.
Maree has over five years of experience in Occupational Health and Safety and in the development of safety standards, training workshops and improvement initiatives. She is passionate about health, safety and education. Maree, a mother of two children, has a Advanced Diploma in OHS and will be graduating soon with a B.Sc. (HSE) from Australia.