Living in a country that has a very ingrained water culture is double-edged.
Nobody knows this more than Ky Hurst – lifesaver, Olympian and iron man, who since becoming dad to five-year-old Koa and eight-month-old baby Asha, is more vigilant than ever.
As a lifesaver, Ky has seen first-hand how quickly a situation can turn disastrous, and says when it comes to protecting and educating children against drowning, prevention is key.
“A lot of the drownings you don’t hear about either, they happen so fast,” he says speaking of the 291 drowning deaths that occurred in Australia from the first of July 2016 to the 30th of June 2017.
“It’s just alarming.”
Describing a situation when he was training at a local pool, Ky says it’s easy for a struggling child to be overlooked when there are many children about.
“There were lots of children in the pool swimming around, but no one saw him and he went under,” says Ky.
“I was just lucky that I saw him because he looked like he was struggling, so I asked him, pulled him out and he was perfectly fine, but seconds later, if I hadn’t have seen it, something much worse could have happened.”
LISTEN: The creator of the Kids Alive campaign, Laurie Lawrence, shares his best advice for keeping kids safe around water this summer. Post continues after audio.
Now, when not training for his next athletic pursuit, such as surf lifesaving nationals, ironman titles or sailing for the Oracle Team USA, Ky has made it his mission to preach water safety both as a lifeguard, and aims to empower parents and guardians with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills.
“Our role at the end of the day are like guardian angels,” Ky says.
“No matter how well trained you are or how well your kids swim, accidents do happen and you’ve got to be realistic about this.
“We just want to keep an eye on the younger ones, make sure they’re safe, make sure they’re having fun, while doing everything in our power to make sure that if anything does happen, we have everything in place.
These are Ky’s tips:
Learning CPR is a must.
As an ambassador for Westpac’s Rescue Rashie campaign, a collaboration with CPR Kids, Ky sees learning CPR as not only vital in ensuring your kid’s well being, but also as a “reassurance for everyone around you”.
The concept behind the Rescue Rashie however, is blindingly simple, he says.
“It was something that I wish I had thought of many, many years ago,” says Ky a fan of the Australian made, UPF 50+, rash shirt with lifesaving CPR instructions printed directly onto the rash vest.