When you think of a potential drowning risk, do you think of an ice chest for drinks … like an esky?
While an esky or the like, may not sound like a typical drowning threat, any body of water can pose as a hazard to those who cannot swim, or are simply too young to assist themselves if in danger.
Just over a year ago, a family nearly lost their little girl, after she was found with her feet dangling out of a ice chest; she simply wasn’t old enough or strong enough to push herself back out of the chest’s melted ice. If her parents hadn’t found her so quickly, she would have drowned – they were extremely lucky.
With family barbecues and backyard pool parties, there are several water hazards that could cause harm to children, should they be overlooked.
- NEVER prop the pool gate open, even for a moment – you could forget to close it, or a child could slip through unnoticed.
- ALWAYS supervise a paddle pool, remembering to drain and pack them away after use.
- And DRINK containers like eskies full of ice and water must be monitored when in use, latched securely and drained afterwards.
- When entertaining families – including kids – in and around water, a designated supervisor must be assigned and know the whereabouts of all children at all times; sometimes it’s necessary to have multiple, assigned supervisors. This person or people should be of adult age, possess good swimming skills, have a phone on hand, and know how to perform CPR if needed. Children under six years, and all non-swimmers, must be kept within arm’s reach at all times.
- If a child is missing – and regardless of your whereabouts – without hesitation ALWAYS check the pool, paddle pool, fish ponds, water features, dams, creeks, animal water troughs, tanks, buckets, ice chests and other water hazards first; significant risks from neighbouring properties must also be searched.Then inspect bedrooms, cupboards, as well as other hiding spots. When it comes to drowning, seconds count and can make all the difference.
Drowning can happen in any body of unsupervised water, in a matter of seconds, any time of year, and often in complete silence. Children have drowned in less than the contents of a water bottle.
Summer is the peak drowning season in Australia, with drowning being the number one cause of accidental, child related deaths. Last year, 20 children under the age of five, drowned in Australia – 70 per cent of those deaths, occurred within swimming pools.
While many may think a party environment filled with adults is a pretty ‘safe’ place for kids to swim, the reality is, a party is often filled with distractions. If children aren’t constantly supervised by a responsible adult – no matter the environment – a drowning tragedy could result.
You simply can’t afford to be relaxed about your children’s safety, when in and around any body of water at any time of year.
Image credit: olesiabilkei/123RF Stock Photo