PLAY IT SAFE: Bailey Worley, Jessica Hooper and Tahlia Donnelly enjoy some safe fun in the sun at Wivenhoe Dam.
PLAY IT SAFE: Bailey Worley, Jessica Hooper and Tahlia Donnelly enjoy some safe fun in the sun at Wivenhoe Dam. Andrew Korner

Olympic champ gives blessing to dam safety message

OLYMPIC gold medallist Jodie Henry's perspective has changed a bit since hanging up the speedos in favour of family life.

Now a mother of two - and with number three on the way - Ms Henry has become the face of the Play It Safe campaign, which aims to prevent drownings in the region's dams and parks during summer.

She joined 550 primary school children from across Ipswich and West Moreton at Wivenhoe Dam yesterday, for the official launch of the safety initiative.

Children were treated to a live water rescue demonstration by Surf Lifesaving Queensland, as well as some words of wisdom from Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle, and Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann.

While the campaign encourages families to make the most of the beautiful lakes of south-east Queensland, it also encourages children and their parents to keep and eye out for one another in the water.

With children aged four and two, Ms Henry said she fully understood the importance of supervising children.

"We've got a pool in the backyard and I have become like an eagle watching over them," she said.

"In a place like Wivenhoe Dam, where you don't have red and yellow flags and lifeguards, you need to be responsible for one another, and it is great that kids are learning that lesson today."

Representatives from Hannah's Foundation, the SES, St John Ambulance and Seqwater were also on hand.

Following the rescue demonstration, children were encouraged to go swimming, kayaking and fishing in the dam.

Seqwater CEO Peter Dennis said that while rangers carried out regular patrols, they could not be everywhere.

"The students today have come along well-prepared for their trip, having worked with their teachers to learn about risky behaviours in and around water and how to play it safe," Mr Dennis said.

Mr McArdle said thousands of visitors would flock to the dams during the holidays.

"Our lakes provide a welcome escape from the heat for swimmers, boaties and fishing enthusiasts and I encourage everyone to plan ahead by visiting Seqwater's website to explore what activities are available at each lake, along with helpful safety hints."



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