Keep Watch Program of Royal Life Saving in Australia
The figures are striking: Over the past 2 years, 965 children under the age of five have drowned in Australia. This is like the population of a village. What is more striking, is that each of those tragic events could have been avoided. Every single drowning, no matter of the different reasons that have caused each one, could have been prevented if the kids were watched properly.
Nevertheless, the mistakes of the past should be lessons for the future. Royal Life Saving is setting the example and is currently running the Keep Watch Program drowning prevention program.
The aim of Keep Watch should be the aim of the whole of Australia: Make sure that not a single kid will drown again in the future. No matter how optimistic such an assumption sounds, the fact is that all drownings are caused by human mistakes. And human mistakes can always be prevented.
Active and Constant Supervision on Your Children at All Times
The first and most important factor of drowning prevention that Royal Life Saving takes under consideration is supervision. Again, figures speak for themselves: In every single case of child drowning in home swimming pools, there was either a lapse or a total absence of supervision. This is a 100% percentage.
All parents and guardians should be aware of the significance of constant supervision of children. Even one minute of lack of supervision can lead to a tragedy. So, this is a crucial lesson, never to forget: Don't engage in parallel activities while your kids are swimming and keep stable visual contact with them. Pay great attention all of the time.
You should also keep in mind that in cases of toddlers and very young kids, you would need to be in the water yourselves. And last but not least, remember this: The responsibility of supervising accordingly your children when they are in aquatic environment is always yours. So, don't leave this task to older children and don't multitask when the kids are in the water. Alternatively, Royal Life Saving suggests the solution of employing a registered supervisor, so that responsibility can be shared and rotated.
Restricting a Child’s Access to Water
All parents know that kids are curious and adventurous. This is a good thing, as knowledge and wisdom come from such patterns of behaviour. However, there are restrictions that should be applied when we speak about the safety of children. The restriction of access to water can be achieved by placing a barrier that will prevent your child from entering the water.
This can be done either by placing a barrier around the water or around the child. In the first case, you could use a fence with a self-closing and self- latching gate, so that children could not approach the pool or spa. And at the latter, a child safe play area could be used inside or outside the home. This is the best solution when talking about dams on farms that can't be fenced.
Water Safety Awareness and Familiarisation
This is one of the most significant aspects of precautionary measures for the safety of children when being in water. Water awareness is not achieved by just one single way, but is rather the outcome of a combination of activities and strategies. Since it is not a material issue, like the previously discussed barriers and fences, the priority is to enhance the cognitive skills of children in order to make them fully aware of the “must know” facts about water.
Skills like moving in the water, having the face wet and blowing bubbles are major parts of the water awareness process, especially for the very young ages. When the infants grow up and reach the age of five, they can advance further by attending specialised swim classes. It's in this period of a child's development that the concept of water awareness can be readily assimilated. After taking the necessary steps, parents could be able to discuss with their children the possible dangers and safety issues when being around water.
Knowledge to Perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Royal Life Saving values highly the practice of resuscitation when referring to the lifesaving priority. Indeed, this could be the thin line between life and death. This is why, it strongly encourages every parent to learn how to perform CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). When emergency situations occur, the time for reaction is limited and a timely and right response is urgently expected.
Royal Life Saving offers relevant courses and resources as well as a CRP chart that can be used when necessary. As far as the CRP courses are concerned, they are conducted in a variety of locations across Australia.