Tragic year – drowning deaths double

Tragic year – drowning deaths double

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Kids at Mandurah Aquatic Centre have a go at learning life-saving skills with their new equipment.

It has been a tragic start to summer with seven Western Australians losing their lives to drowning – more than double the number at this time last year.

With many of these involving young children, Royal Life Saving is calling for a greater focus on ensuring that all children learn not only swimming and water safety skills, but also water rescue skills to prevent drowning.

“There is a concern that many children exit swimming lessons at an age where they are less likely to learn the lifesaving skills that will protect them, with parents often pulling them out of lessons because of lack of time, competing after-school activities and cost,” Senior Manager Swimming and Water Safety Education at Royal Life Saving WA Trent Hotchkin said.

“In most emergency situations involving children, a friend or family member will be the first person on the scene. This means that having aquatic rescue skills and knowing how to respond in an emergency until emergency services arrive could mean the difference between life and death.”

Royal Life Saving WA recently received a Federal Government Stronger Communities Grant to purchase equipment for use at four community swimming pool facilities within the Canning electorate to assist with delivery of lifesaving, swimming, and water safety education programs with the aim of increasing participation and improving community health and wellbeing. Swim Mechanix in Byford was one of the four recipients.

“After receiving some brand new equipment thanks to a Royal Life Saving grant, we’re looking forward to being able to offer Junior Lifeguard Club workshops each term to help build life-saving skills in kids aged over 8 years of age,” Swim Mechanix Byford owner Liz Fowler said.

“This program develops skills towards completing a Bronze Medallion award recognising competent swimming and water safety skills including awareness, assessment, action and aftercare in an emergency, provide CPR and water rescues.”

Member for Canning Andrew Hastie said that WA is blessed with long, hot Summers, perfect for water-side activities.

“Australian summers are spent by the beach, river or pool and we can’t take safety for granted,” Mr Hastie said.

“Giving our kids the opportunity to participate in swimming and water safety education empowers them with the skills to prevent and respond to water-related incidents.”

Royal Life Saving WA is encouraging parents to make water safety a priority these holidays and enrol their children into a swimming and lifesaving program.

For more information visit www.royallifesavingwa.com.au