The weather is warming up here in Australia and as a result families are looking to cool off in their local watering holes. Whether it’s the beach, backyard pool or other favourite water ways to go swimming for some summer fun. Children are also looking to cool off and they are drawn to any water they can find. This is a scary season for families because sadly it is the highest drowning season. Even the most loving parent can’t supervise their children 24 hours a day but let’s raise the awareness and try to avoid any other tragedies from happening.
As a swim teacher, you can play a role in advising children and parents about the importance of water safety and supervision. Remind them that if they have a backyard pool it’s time to ensure that fences are secure and the gate is self closing and latching with a magna latch. Movement of the soil under the fence or erosion of the fence panels can lead to unwanted access to the pool area. Pool fencing does save lives, particularly with babies who are recently mobile and inquisitive toddlers. An important tip is to move any objects which are around the pool area that may be used to assist older children to climb the fence. For instance pot plants, outdoor furniture and play equipment are very easy for children to position so that they can climb the fence or open the gate without their parents knowing.
While swimming lessons can be a year round sport, lessons often become front of mind for parents during this time of the year. If children have been out of regular lessons for a while it may be best for them to start off with a week intensive, where children swim every day for the week. This will rapidly speed up the learn to swim process for children. Two lessons a week are always recommended especially for children who don’t have access to play opportunities outside of the swimming lesson. Remember the more children are exposed to the water the sooner they will learn their capabilities, limitations and a respect for the water.
Supervision within arms reach is essential when in or around water with children who are under the age of 5. Even children who can swim require supervision because accidents can happen very easily. You may be surprised that drowning is a silent killer. If you have to supervise multiple non swimmers you may also need to consider using a personal flotation device which meets Australian standards. While PFDs should not enter the realm of formal learn to swim lessons they may be helpful for parents with multiple children under 5. But please don’t rely on flotation devises to supervise children for you. Remind parents that if they are supervising their children swimming at home to make sure that they have a discussion with their partner or appoint another responsible adult. Teenagers under the age of 16 are not appropriate as a supervising adult.
Your CPR skills should be refreshed every 12 months, so now is the time to enrol in a full course or book a refresher. You never know when you may need the skills that you learn from attending a CPR course. Being prepared in an emergency is essential and attending you a course will give you the skills to be confident in your response. Performing CPR can save a life and responding quickly to a drowning victim is imperative for a successful recovery. There are many great providers of CPR courses like Royal Life Saving or St John Ambulance. If you have any hesitations just contact their offices and speak to someone about the procedures and topics you will cover on the day.
As we welcome in Summer, we also need to remember that water safety is our top priority. Laurie Lawrence has launched National Check-Your-Pool-Gate Day on 1st December to remind you to check your gates and fences. Laurie has teamed up with D&D Technologies, manufacturer of the MagnaLatch Child Safety Gate to shine a light on the critical issue of non-compliant pool gates and fences. As a swim teacher, you can advise parents of the resources they can access to ensure water safety wherever they go. Learning about water safety can be a fun family affair, and they can find the information they need via Kids Alive. Make sure you spread the water safety message with all your friends and family. Drowning is preventable and we can make a different to tragic statistics. Follow this link for FREE access to fun water safety materials like music clips, animations and eBooks.