Is your family swim season ready?
It’s a simple question but if your answer is less than ‘YES’, the consequences could be dire.
Good news … while
accidents can and do happen, drowning can also be prevented,
by applying and remembering four simple steps.
These steps are Swimming Australia’s SwimSAFER ‘Layers of Protection’: Be Aware, Be Secure, Be Confident and Be Prepared.
The layers act like a safety net, to help prevent an incident, or enable someone to act appropriately, in the event of an accident.
By applying the four layers together, the philosophy works, that if one layer fails, the
remaining active layers will fall into place, and potentially help save that child’s life.
For example, if the barriers are down, then the child’s safety skills should initially help them, should they fall into the water/or if their skills are poor, then adult supervision will be on hand to immediately assist.
So, to SwimSAFER this season …
1. Be Aware: Don’t let the kids out of your sight.
- Keep constant supervision no matter a child’s age or ability; all non-swimmers and children under six, must be within arm’s reach of a responsible, active adult.
- Never leave your child/ren unattended, even if they can swim.
- Regularly practice the house rule: “I only go swimming with an adult!”
2. Be Secure: Keep fences and gates locked up tight.
- Pool fences and gates need to be regularly inspected, and meet government requirements.
- Objects and potential climbing aids like pot plants, chairs and overhanging tree branches, must be removed, to avoid climbing temptation.
3. Be Confident: Learn to Swim, and how to get to safety.
- Maintaining swimming lessons and practicing water safety skills is imperative, but should never be substituted for proper supervision and barriers.
- A booster block may help if a child has had time out of the water.
4. Be Prepared: Always have a plan in case of emergency.
- Ensure your resuscitation skills are up to date, and permanently display at least one resuscitation, or CPR Chart in the pool area.
- Check the pool and other waterways first if a child is missing, then inspect bedrooms, cupboards and other cubby areas.
No matter a child’s swimming ability, any time spent away from the water – ie. during winter – can affect their capacity to stay afloat, swim and survive.
If your child – regardless of their age – didn’t swim during the cooler months, then there’s a good chance they will have lost their touch for the water; you simply can’t ever assume they’ll be right, or become complacent, when children and water are combined.
While year-round swimming classes are advised – especially in an aquatic-rich country like Australia – ‘booster blocks’, ‘intensity weeks’ or ‘accelerator programs’ are a fantastic way to help kids catch up on their swimming skills, or quickly prepare them for the season ahead.
These week-long blocks promote frequent swimming classes across a short period of time. Unlike regular swimming lessons, where kids are exposed to one session a week, the booster blocks provide up to five lessons in one week. It has the potential to significantly improve a child’s confidence, skill, and performance in a short time frame.
And when you think about it, it actually makes sense!
Have you ever noticed, after a beach or poolside holiday, your kids are swimming better, than before you arrived?
While swimming is one of the country’s favourite past times, sadly, accidental childhood drowning claims the greatest number of young lives than any other trauma.
But not all accidents are fatal; one quarter of children admitted to hospital following a non-fatal drowning, will be left with a brain injury resulting in lifelong disabilities. In 2012/2013, 40 children between the ages of zero and 14, drowned in Australian waterways.
But, with proper precautions taken, you can help protect your family, and become season ready.
You can find your closest Swim Australia Registered swim school