Last week I wrote a post on the recent child drownings in New South Waleschild drownings in New South Wales, and our need as parents to remain vigilant in promoting water safety with our families. I got such a great response that I wanted to explore this a bit further – so I am creating a mini-blog series called Water Babies. This series will include guest posts from professionals and small business owners who share the vision of water safety with me, and will include steps you can take to keep your water babies safe (as well as great products for you to purchase – AND WIN!). I’ve got information from the Royal Life Saving Society Australia (see more below), Wonderwoman Children, SwimTrainer, Honeybell Waterwear, My Water Bubs and Rashoodz. And let’s be honest, there are a couple of AWESOME surprises on the way too, so you DON’T want to miss out! So let’s get started (sorry, you’re stuck with me for this one!)
Water Safety: Where do I start?
As I mentioned in my last post, a lot of this information seems like common knowledge, but mistakes do happen and we need to constantly remind ourselves of what to do. If you are a new or prospective mum, the realisation that you are SOLELY responsible for this child (more or less) may start to hit you. I remember it hitting me in the hospital, when I was holding my one-day old son in my arms, thinking Crap! It is all up to us now! We have to keep him as safe as possible. As a new parent, you don’t even begin to understand the gravity of this until you are presented with every scenario. Bath times. Kiddie pools. Swimming lessons. Spilled water on the floor with an immobile baby doing some tummy time. You would be surprised at how much water is around our children, and that makes our role even more crucial. So you might be wondering, where do I start? Here are some amazing tips I gathered from the Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSSA).
The RLSSA have recently put out a video, with the help of Masterchef Matt Preston, talking about how easy it is for us to get distracted and take our eyes of our children. We’ve all been there – not even for backyard pools (which the video highlights), but even in the bath tub. This powerful video brings home the importance of supervising your babies (and children) around any body of water, whether it be big or small.
Even if there is only a small amount of water in the bath, never leave your child unattended in the bath tub – even if it is “for 2 seconds”. Even the use of bath aids (such as those used for small babies that sit inside the baby bath) do NOT prevent drowning. This all comes back to correct supervision. More information can be found on the RLSSA’s website HERE.
Knowing First Aid
If there is one thing that you can do ASAP to help keep your child safe, is get some First Aid training. Wonderwoman Children (who will be sharing with us in the weeks to come), offer Accredited, Family and Children First Aid courses around Australia to support families in understanding and administering effective first aid. I won’t cover too much more as I’ll leave that up to the wonderful minds behind WWC, but this is important!
Building water sense and swimming lessons
In my last post (HERE), I chatted with ACM Swimming about how to engage children in water safety. The local swim school we attend with our son accepts children as young as 4 months into swimming classes – with the aim being to build up your child’s water sense and ‘familiarity’ with the water. After those first couple of years of becoming familiar in the pool, they can then be involved in more specific swimming lessons (anywhere from 2-3 years of age). While swimming lessons may NOT prevent drownings or water-related accidents, they can give your child more skills in navigating water and knowing what to do if they fell in the water (for example).
A Teacher’s Perspective
As a trained primary school teacher, I have known theoretically the importance of water safety for quite a while. It is part of our PDHPA curriculum and we are required to teach it across all grades at school. It mostly fits in the “Safe Living” Content Strand. What is/should be taught is below, if you’re interested:
- Kindergarten: Buoyancy, water safety and awareness, and never swimming alone;
- Stage 1: Swimming confidence and mobility;
- Stage 2: Water rescue skills in stage 2;
- Stage 3: Stroke development and diving.
- Across all grades:
- The water environment;
- Safe places to swim;
- Safety Equipment;
- Safety skills;
- Emergency Procedures (i.e. First Aid).
It also fits in across other content strands such as Moving, Active Lifestyle, Problem Solving, and Games & Sports (under Aquatics à Water Skills). This has been such a good reinforcement for me, now as a new mother. Knowing that this is what is (or SHOULD BE) taught in our schools is positive. I know our school also offers swim school once a year for 2 weeks with trained swim coaches, if parents elect to have their children involved (from year 2 onwards). It is such an encouragement to see schools jumping on board to support water safety with children as well.
The main emphasis is on US: The Parents!
Despite the extra support we get from experts in promoting water safety, we need to remember at the end of the day, we are the ones solely responsible for our children. We need to be vigilant with supervision; vigilant with updating our first aid skills; and vigiliant in taking our children to swimming lessons (even when we don’t really feel like going out!), to make sure that our children are kept safe.
Here are some resources that you can read and use to help keep your children water safe!
What are your thoughts on water safety? What other important factors would you include with the above list?