The Wiggles

How to keep your children water safe by Libby Trickett

Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under five in Australia?  Drowning can occur anywhere there is water - swimming pools, rivers, creeks, the ocean, dams, lakes and also fish ponds, drains and buckets.  A small toddler can drown in as little as 5cm of water.  As young children's heads are heavier than their bodies, if a child is face down in the water they cannot pick themselves up.

Also, for every drowning, about 3 more children are hospitalised as a result of a near-drowning experience.

So it is very important to be water safe with your children, especially while your children are very young.

My top water safety tips for parents and carers of children under 5:

1. Watch your children constantly.

Most drowning deaths occur while the parent's attention is elsewhere. You need to give your children your constant attention while they are in or near water, not an occasional glance at them while you are doing something else.  When at a public pool or the beach, having a lifeguard does not mean you can relax.  You still need to give your children your undivided attention.

2. Always stay within arms' reach. 

This means you need to get into the water with them if they are in a pool or at the beach.  If you need to get out of the water, even for a minute, take your children with you.  Don't leave them on their own in or near the water. 

Hold your child's hand while walking through creeks and rivers.

Stay in the bathroom with your child while they are in the bath.

3. Do not leave water accessible to children. 

By law all pools and spas must be fenced and meet Australian safety standards.  Fence off any other bodies of water on your property e.g. dams, creeks, or put your child in a safe child-proof area (i.e. fence off your child!). Remove any objects which a child could climb on to get over the fence. 

Cover ponds/ water features with mesh.  Put a secure lid on water tanks/ buckets.

Always empty bathtubs, paddling pools, buckets, when not in use. 

4. Learn first aid.

Learning basic first aid and CPR could save a life.  Have a CPR chart by the pool.

5. Make sure your children learn to swim.

It is never too early to start water familiarisation with your child.  Initially you can try some simple exercises at bath-time - getting their face wet, blowing bubbles under the water. 

When you and your child are ready to begin lessons, choose a swimming pool in your area that is accredited by Swimming Australia or AUSTSWIM.

Use a swimming aid to help keep your children afloat while they are learning to swim. But no swimming aid should replace adult supervision - you still need to watch them carefully and stay within arm's reach at all times.

As part of teaming up with The Wiggles this summer, I have also 5 top water safety tips aimed at children:

  1. Use a swimming aid, like SwimFin, to keep you safe in the water and help you learn to swim faster.
  2. Never go into the water without a grown up
  3. Use lots of sunscreen
  4. Drink lots of water
  5. Learn to swim like a fish!

Watch the video of my top water safety tips and see the Wiggles perform "Swim Like a Fish".





So this summer have fun in the water with your young children, but stay water safe!


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