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While swimming is an important part of Australian culture, drowning remains one of the highest causes of accidental death in children.

The recent National Drowning Report compiled by Royal Life Saving shows child drowning deaths in Australia have again risen. Between July 1 2009 and June 30 2010, 48 children aged 0-14 years drowned. The majority of these drownings are preventable.

Eliminating child drowning
With the number of children being born in Australia rising; parents, government and the community must address the often neglected risk of child drowning before further lives are lost this summer.

Child drowning remains a significant cause of preventable death, particularly in children aged under 5 years. Parents and carers can reduce this risk and provide their children with valuable skills for life by following a number of actions.

These actions are: supervise your child, restrict your child’s access to water, teach your child to be water aware and learn resuscitation.

To ensure your child stays safe in the water:

  • Make sure your child is supervised at all times and, if they’re under the age of five, keep them within arm’s reach.
  • Familiarise your child with water and make sure they can swim early.
  • Provide barriers to water locations and inspect them regularly.
  • Objects that could be used to climb any fence near a pool should be removed from the area.
  • Pool aids and toys should be stored securely and out of view.
  • Learn resuscitation in case of an accident.

Royal Life Saving top swim safety tips:

  • Go together: when playing in, on or around water always make sure someone is with you.
  • Reach to rescue: if someone needs help, do not get in the water. Lie down and reach out with a stick or throw a buoyant object to them.
  • Stay afloat and wave: if you are in trouble in the water, try to relax, roll on your back, float, hold onto something if available and wave one arm to attract attention.
  • In natural waterways, always enter the water slowly; feet first, never dive in.
  • Where possible swim in designated swimming areas.

Video: National Drowning Report