Two tragic deaths of young boys and the release of the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report for 2015 are a reminder that vigilance is so important during the summer months.
Last weekend was a blue-skied preview of the months to come in many parts of Australia. The warm spring weather sent people flocking to beaches and swimming pools.
With the higher temperatures comes the reminder that summer can be a dangerous time, especially for young children. Over the weekend, it was sadly reported that a four year old was pulled from a backyard swimming pool in Bankstown in Sydney’s south-west. The little boy went into cardiac arrest and died shortly after arriving at Westmead Children’s Hospital.
In Melbourne yesterday, a two-year-old boy was reported to have drowned in a backyard pool in the suburb of Melton South. The boy’s mother and emergency services were unable to save him despite performing CPR.
These two tragedies coincide with the release of the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report for 2015. According to the report, 10 percent of Australians who drowned in the last twelve months were under the age of five. While the numbers are down on the ten year average, in the last twelve months there was a 30% increase in drownings across Australia, up from 20 in 2014 to 26 in 2015. The report states in no uncertain terms that this statistic is of high concern.
“It’s horrific,” says Kaye Wood, Aquatic Programs Coordinator at Royal Lifesaving NSW, “26 lives lost, that’s an entire classroom full of little children.”
The saddest thing about swimming pool drownings is that they are preventable. Ms Wood reiterates that supervision is key for children under the age of five. “Small children have no idea of the dangers of water,” she explains, “Even if they have demonstrated at age 3 or 4 that they can swim back to the wall of a pool, they cannot be left unsupervised by an adult. If there is an accident or surprise situation, they won’t be able to do what they’ve been taught.”