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Drowning risks triples when a child turns one

Drowning risk triples when a child is one year old

Forty-one per cent of drowning deaths among children under five in Australia occur in one-year-old toddlers, according to the latest data from the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia.

Research figures show that, over the past 17 years, 496 children aged 0 to four years drowned. Of these, 202 (41%) were children aged one, which means that no other age (from 0-100 years) is at greater risk of drowning.

Most deaths in children aged one occurred in backyard swimming pools (59%) and during the summer months (44%). Accidental falls into water was the leading activity prior to drowning in this age group, accounting for 88% of all deaths. Almost all of these deaths were due to a lack of active adult supervision.

The Keep Watch program has four key actions to prevent your child from drowning.

These are:

  • Supervise
  • Restrict Access
  • Water Awareness
  • Resuscitate

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, drowning is the number one cause of death in one-year-old children (ABS 2019).

Justin Scarr, CEO at Royal Life Saving Society – Australia says parents and carers need to know that the risk of drowning triples as soon as a child starts to crawl, peaking shortly after a child’s first birthday.

“Drowning deaths in young children are wholly preventable. Making the home pool environment safer for young children remains a key focus for Royal Life Saving,” he says.

“We can’t emphasise enough how important active adult supervision is in preventing these deaths.

“Distractions are dangerous – whether it is taking a phone call, browsing social media or ducking inside to grab something – we ask parents and carers to always Keep Watch.

“In addition, it is essential that people install pool fences and check pool gates regularly to make sure they are not faulty or kept propped open.”

Since 2002, drowning deaths in children aged under five have decreased by 55%, but drowning remains one of the leading causes of accidental death in this age group.

Royal Lifesaving Australia is urging people to:

  • Actively supervise children around water
  • Check your pool fence and gate and repair immediately if needed
  • Never prop the pool gate open
  • Remember, swimming lessons are great, but they’e no substitute for active supervision and a pool fence in good working order.

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The Bub Hub is proud to support Royal Life Saving

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

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