Drowning message is supervision and barriers

AUSTRALIA'S leading drowning prevention and awareness advocacy group wants all parents to listen to the Supervision and Barriers message this summer.

Tomorrow is National Drowning Prevention, Awareness and Memorial Day and Hannah's Foundation wants parents and children to listen to the messages about safety around water.

"For the past seven years we have heard, 'our kids can swim; they are safe' but it's truly a myth," Hannah's Foundation executive officer Katherine Plint said. "The sad reality is that swimmers of all ages can drown if they get into trouble.

"Supervision and barriers is what saves lives, anywhere around water, no matter what your age."

Last year, Mrs Plint said, two children in Queensland drowned after pool owners propped open gates.

"The pool fence is your back up if supervision breaks down for those momentary seconds.

"Drowning only takes 20 seconds, it's that quick," she said.

"Two more children drowned in dams who were not wearing life jackets. Barriers are very important when in the water.

"Parents need to be more vigilant around water and actively supervise their children.

"Don't sit by the pool or beach on the phone or reading a book or even sleeping whilst sunbaking."

Hannah's Foundation director Andrew Plint said: "We are sadly seeing an increase of older children minding younger siblings especially on the holidays.

"We want to remind parents that adults must supervise children around water.

"Often we see public pool staff being used as babysitters and its important to remember that it is adults who are responsible for the supervision of children around water."

The National Drowning Prevention, Awareness and Memorial Day service is 11am tomorrow at Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park, Walloon.



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