Easter provides a timely reminder on water safety
Water survival skills including swimming lessons are essential in Australia, and with the Easter holidays just around the corner, it is the perfect time to brush up on your safety skills and remind children how to stay safe in and around water.
Goodstart Coorparoo Cavendish Road South
centre director Kellie Pidwarko is passionate about water safety and is about to launch a range of initiatives to remind children at the centre how to stay smart in and around water.
Children in the kindergarten room have recently been offered weekly swimming lessons, and the centre was also partnering with a local swim school to hold a water safety session with children within the centre.
“You can’t expect children to have sense around water, especially when they’re younger. It’s something they have to be taught,” she said.
“Particularly where we live (in Queensland), with the climate and lifestyle, every second person has a pool in their backyard and we all spend a lot of time at the beach, it’s so important children know what to do around water.”
And it wasn’t just swimming safety that the centre focused on.
Ms Pidwarko said water safety was always top of mind when educators included water play as part of the daily program.
With drowning being the leading cause of death in children under five, Royal Life Saving Australia said water safety should always be a priority.
Through the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2016-2020, Royal Life Saving Australia recommends parents, schools and government prioritise swimming and water safety education for all children.
During the 2016-17 summer, the Australian drowning rate was 4-5 times the average, said Royal Life Saving Australia CEO Justin Scarr.
“This had a devastating impact on communities, families and friends of those lost,” he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also recommended all school-aged children be taught basic swimming, water safety and safe rescue skills.
To help support children’s early education in water safety, many other Goodstart centres either offered, or planned to offer swimming lessons to their children.
runs a special community partnership with their local council and a local swimming school to teach children how to stay water safe and Goodstart Echuca
is another centre prioritising water safety through twice-weekly water safety lessons.
Water safety advocate, swimming instructor and former Australian swim coach Laurie Lawrence’s Kids Alive-Do the Five water safety program is used by swimming schools around the Australia.
In the lead up to Easter holidays, parents should brush up on the water safety rules, including:
- Fencing the pool
- Shutting the gate
- Teaching your children to swim – it’s great
- Supervise – watch your mate, and
- Learn how to resuscitate