Children can begin water awareness classes at your local swimming centre. For more information have a look here for a pool in your area.
You can also teach your child yourself using the SplashSave 'Swim to Survive' programme. Click here for more information.
Hazards can be found at beaches, rivers, lakes and in creeks and streams, but the most dangerous area is around the home. It is dangerous because there are so many at risk areas:
- Bathroom - toilets, sinks and baths
- Outside in the garden - tubs, upright buckets and tubs.
- In pools - spa pools, outdoor pools and temporary pools like paddling pools.
All of these are potential hazards for children to drown in.
Familiarisation and awareness:
Giving your child the gift of being safe and aware around the home is the key to water awareness. It is a term that covers a wide range of strategies which will help develop your child's safety when in, on or around water. This includes water familiarisation; checking for and removing water hazards from around the home (see above), setting rules and guidelines for your child to follow around water and holding a discussion with you child about what it means to be safe around water.
Being familiar with water means getting your child into classes where they can learn life preserving techniques. These classes focus on a gentle introduction to basic skills such as blowing bubbles, getting your face wet and eventually moving through to going underwater, floating and basic propulsion in order for the child to get to the side of the pool.
Find out what to do in an emergency. Check out our webpage on performing CPR here
- Use bathtime as a place where you can introduce being safe in water
- Set water safety rules whenever they go near water. This means holding hands, waiting until you are ready before getting into the pool and ensuring that the child knows that when they put their swim suit on that they are going swimming and when they have their normal clothes on they subconsciously know that it is not swim time
- When you find yourself near water discuss what you want the child to do. For instance, if you are near a public fountain, explain to your child that you cannot go near the water as it is dangerous. Talk to them about being safe in, on or around all forms of water
- Supervise, supervise, supervise: At a party? Designate a responsible adult to watch all of the children. Don't leave this task to a teenager as they are as not as vigilant as a dedicated adult. Child in the bath? Remove all distractions - turn your phone off or leave it in the other room. Lock the doors and don't be tempted to pop out to see who is there if someone knocks. Devote your time to your child when they are in water and the younger the child the more hand to hand closeness you need. It only takes a second for your child to go under the water.