Prevention, Awareness and First Aid
In Australia we take much pride in the ability to access sandy blue beaches and to be able to dip into a pool on a hot summers day! In saying this, we are also very aware of the dangers that can occur when our children are around water and this past summer we have seen this first hand – with multiple children needing to be rescued and some tragically loosing their life.
Past research by The Royal Life Saving Society shared some disturbing statistics in drowning and from one parent to another it certainly has me concerned. Whenever I talk about statistics I think it is important that we take a moment to reflect that each statistic represents a personal story, one of pain and grief. Each and every number is a person, a person that is surrounded by family, friends and a community that has been struck with sadness and emotional pain.
“30% increase in drownings for children between the ages of 0-4 in Australia in the last decade” – The Royal Life Saving Society
The recent statistics also shared by the Australian Child Health Poll also asked parents, would you be confident in rescuing your child from the pool. The results are astounding, in that only 45% of parents reported being very confident and one in six reported that they were not confident to do so.
“More than 40% of parents reported that they did not know the specific first aid required for a drowning or a near-drowning child” –Australian Child Health Poll
It is also important to note that those respondents who have migrated to Australia within the last ten years were almost four times more likely to report that they were not confident to rescue a child from a pool and less than a third of parents reported being very confident in their ability to administer CPR to a child if required.
When thinking about Water Safety there are a few things to consider, these being prevention and safety, but also lets talk a little bit about swim lessons, water survival and of course the importance of First Aid.
WATER SAFETY IN YOUR HOME
Children can drown in very small amounts of water! Water that is deep enough to cover their nose and mouth is enough for a small children to drown in!
During bath time it is essential for the child to have 100% adult supervision. The use of bathing tools such as bath seats do not suffice for supervision. Each moment your child is their bath they require an adult with them. Some tips during bath time is;
Prepare for bath time. Ensure that you have clothing, towels, and anything requires after bath time ready before the bath is full. This will reduce the risk of you having to leave the room.
Ensure that the bath is not too full and that soaps and lotions that are slippery are not used.
Using grips at the bottom of the bath will help create friction
Once the bath is complete empty the bath promptly and restricting access to wet areas without adult supervision
When it comes to having a pool at home there are multiple considerations to take into account. This being fencing, gates, environment, ability to supervise, chemicals and electricity. The Australian Royal Life Saving Society has created this short but informative video on things to consider and have a printable checklist available on their website.
Have you considered all the other areas in your home that can prove to be a drowning risk to your child? Some other areas to think about are;
As the statistics have shown it’s our little ones from the ages of 0-4 at highest risk! At this ages they are very inquisitive and will explore areas that aren’t to be explored. The process of exploring leads children into unsafe zones and they are unable to detect as dangerous. Taking measures to prevent these incidences is very important however keep mind that supervision is always essential.
SWIMMING CLASSES AND SURVIVAL LESSONS FOR YOUR CHILD
Throughout our research we looked into the different type of swimming lessons available to equip your children with the skills to be confident in water and to be safe. There is no debate that introduction to water and education is important for Australian children and here we outline a few difference approaches.
We can begin water familiarisation at an early age, and this can be done during bath time. We can encourage positive play, splashing and introducing the child into water gently being poured on their head and body. This helps them become comfortable around water and therefore allows you as the parent to increase water activities for your children.
Swim & Survival:
This education is designed for younger children and is the most common form of water education available for parents. These classes are where children develop confidence in water through water familiarisation and then develop swimming and floating skills. Most centres will not encourage overused of floatation devices however use them as a tool to learn to swim. These centres provide some focus days on survival however is not the main focus.
These survival classes are provided by Kids Aquatic Survival School, and have been operating in Sydney for 11 years. They now also have some education centres available in other states in Australia. The classes are designed keeping survival in mind, and the key focus. In consideration that the largest age group for drowning is 0-4, the classes only provide survival skills. It is recognised that a child at a very young age will not be able to develop the swimming skills to survive dangerous water emergencies and in turn they teach the ability for children to float before swimming. In addition the courses teach infants how to calmly deal with sudden water immersion and spontaneous water entry.
If you are ever required to rescue a child from drowning, it is very important to know how to do CPR. CPR for a drowning situation can be very different to what you would normally do, with one of the most common mistakes being that we delay CPR by feeling that we need to place the victim to the side to drain any water from their lungs. However, most of the time is coming from the stomach and delaying CPR can have detrimental effects.
WONDERWOMAN Children offers first aid classes publicly and privately Australia Wide. We do recommend to attend a session, however if you are unable we can provide you with further resources.
For all your parent first aid needs
Cover Image Courtesy of Courtney Holmes Photography – www.courtneyholmes.com.au
WWC Education are the founders of Community Funded Family First Aid programs which thanks to local sponsors and support we can provide affordable and accessible infant and paediatric first aid for all families.
Be sure to listen to our LITTLE ROCKERS RADIO session below!