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Keep kids safe in the summer heat

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As summer temperatures soar across Queensland the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) is asking all of us to help keep children safe around water.

Principal Commissioner Cheryl Vardon said, “Children under 5 are most at risk of drowning. Tragically, 60 children in this age group have drowned in swimming pools in Queensland in the past 12 years. Seventy- three percent (73%) of children under 5, who drowned in this period, were aged 1 or 2. More stringent pool fencing laws have certainly helped to reduce the number of backyard drownings but as we have seen over this summer period we must be vigilant at all times. This is the key to keeping kids safe around water.”

The QFCC has produced a video on swimming safety which can be viewed at qfcc.qld.gov.au/keepkidssafe. The video focuses on safety for backyard pools but the actions and strategies are just as relevant when children are swimming in inflatable pools, dams, rivers or at the beach.

This short animation talks about key actions people should take to protect children when they are around water. Drowning in reality is very different from how it is portrayed on television. It is almost always quiet. The waving, splashing and calling out you think you’ll see is rare so you won’t immediately know when a child is in trouble. The most important thing we can do when children are in or around water is to actively supervise them.

Children should be with an adult at all times, don’t give the responsibility to an older child. Children should be within your arms reach and if the adult leaves the pool area make sure the children come with you. You need to be focused on the child all the time they are in or around the water, not on your phone or socialising. I want to encourage everyone to step up to keep our kids safe,” Ms Vardon said.

Other steps you need to take to keep children safe around water include:

  • Installing and maintaining a compliant pool fence
  • Making sure the pool gate’s self-closing and latching mechanisms are in good working order, gates are never left propped open and that there is nothing nearby that a child could use to climb the fence.
  • Teaching children water safety awareness and swimming survival skills
  • Having an emergency action plan which includes knowing how to administer CPR.

Visit qfcc.qld.gov.au/keepkidssafe to find out who can help you with information on fencing, swimming classes and first aid training.