- Learn to swim
No measure can ever guarantee that children are safe in,on and around water.It is only human for adults to sometimes lapse in their supervision of children in the home or while out and about. Children can and do find ways over fences. Children who have had swimming lessons,can still drown. For this reason the SwimSAFER message promotes the application of various layers to protect children from drowning- if one layer “fails” then there is another behind it that may save their life. The layers of protection are:
Parents are children’s first teachers. Therefore it is important that parents take an active interest in the child’s lesson. Outside of the lesson, the parent plays a vital role in educating their child about the importance of learning swimming and water safety skills and the risks associated with the aquatic environment. Always supervise children when in and around water. Domestic water dangers include nappy buckets, fish ponds, bathtubs, toilets, wading pools and any other backyard catchment of water.
Who is Supervising? When children are around water, accompanying adults must know who is responsible for direct supervision. Children have drowned at aquatic venues because an adult has mistakenly thought another adult was supervising.
What about groups of swimmers? Where there is a group of children involved with the water, enough competent adult supervisors need to be appointed. the adults who are supervising must be vigilant water watchers, and must never leave their “post” until replaced by another competent adult. Swim Australia’s Pool Watcher lanyard is a great aide for this essential task.
Correct supervision entails
1. Constant visual contact
2. Being within arms reach of non-swimmers and under 6’s
3. Not being distracted by anything eg. ringing phones,doorbells
4. Being ready to respond quickly
Children can climb fences, with children as young as 2years old drowning in backyard pools after using chairs, bins, pot plants, eskies etc. to boost themselves up to open the gate or climb over. Ensure that there are no items in the yard that children could drag over and use to climb the fence. Outdoor furniture must be secured or too heavy for a child to move. Props which hold open a gate as a parent works in the yard, have also lead to drowning. Never prop open gates – a child slipping through or forgetting to remove the prop can easily lead to tragedy. Please note: all too often, when parents have bought a new house with a pool – or started renting one – they have mistakenly believed that the pool fence and gate are in good working order and/or compliant with government regulations. Sadly, such an assumption has contributed to tragic consequences. New owners or renters should demand a Certificate of Compliance…. and inspect the fence and gate for possible non-compliance anyway.
Being able to swim well is one of the greatest gifts that can be bestowed upon a child – especially in Australia. For young children, the basic swimming and water safety skills include:
There is no such thing as “drown-proof” or “water safe”.
Combined with learning the physical skills, the child is developing parallel water safety knowledge. This ranges from knowing not to go near the pool unless with an adult through to swimming between the flags when at the beach.
Water familiarisation, swimming and water safety lessons are conducted at commercial aquatic facilities including private swim schools and home based centres. Look for the AUSTSWIM platypus logo when you visit your aquatic facility to ensure that AUSTSWIM teachers are employed. The Neate Swim School is a recognised Austswim facility.
What qualifications should the swimming teacher hold? The Austswim Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety Qualification is recommended for teachers who instruct swimming and water safety programs for all children through to adults. All teachers at the Neate Swim School hold this qualification. The Austswim Teacher of Infant Preschool Qualification is recommended for teachers instructing infant and preschool programs. Teachers who conduct the Infant Aquatic Sessions at the Neate Swim School at 10.30am each day hold this qualification.
Giaan Rooney, Ex. Olympian
In drowning incidents, every second counts. Having an emergency action plan in place can reduce panic and save vital time. Consider the following:
If you haven’t already done so, revise, refresh or enrol yourself in a CPR course, so you are prepared in case of an emergency. CPR accreditation should be updated every year. The Neate Swim School regularly holds CPR and First Aid courses as a co-provider for Allen’s Training. Spending time and money doesn’t substitute for a life. If you would like to update your CPR/First Aid skills, please contact the office.
To visit the Swim Australia website click here
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