Water safety expert Laurie Lawrence is calling on parents to remain vigilant about water safety during Winter, especially with COVID-19 interrupting learn-to-swim lessons.
“Last year 37 Aussies lost their lives in drowning incidents over the cooler months and with most swim schools still closed or with limited access presently, we are concerned about the impact come the peak swimming season,” the Kids Alive Founder said.
“With everything that has been going on its easy for parents to forget about water safety, especially as they haven’t been able to go to swimming lessons and get that consistent reminder,” he said.
“The reality is kids are curious about pools and other aquatic locations no matter the season, which is why pool surrounds need to be kept kid-safe, parents need to keep a constant watch on kids near water and those important safety messages need to be reinforced especially with the most vulnerable under 5’s,”
Restrictions associated with COVID-19 have meant Kids Alive have been unable to use traditional methods of teaching water safety via swim schools and early childhood centres, which has led to the development of an innovative online learning platform.
“From June, we will launch a series of virtual events, the Kids Alive ‘Couch Concert’ series, that aim to educate and entertain little ones and their families about important water safety messages.
“Every day at 2pm (AEST) on our Facebook page we will host a new event live. We have also offered childcare facilities access to a free teaching platform to enable educators to easily incorporate water safety lessons into their curriculum,” Laurie said.
“Winter is the perfect time to prepare for the swimming season and for families to learn more about how to be safe around water. We believe these events will help us reach a larger audience and keep water safety front of mind!”
Laurie said drowning remained the number one leading cause of accidental death in Australian children under the age of five* and while the majority of these deaths occur in swimming pools, infants and young children also die in waterways, bathtubs and spa baths.
“A recent report by Royal Life Saving Australia* showed that between 2008 and 2018, 26 children aged 0 to 4 years drowned in lakes, dams and lagoons alone.
That’s why it’s so important to get our message across to families in every location and our new online events will help do this, especially while we can’t travel,” he said.
The Kids Alive ‘Couch Concerts’ events have been designed to deliver water safety messages in a fun and innovative way and include dance concerts, puppet shows, craft videos and book readings.
“Water is everywhere so we need to make sure kids and adults are aware of the dangers and best preventative measures. The ‘Couch Concerts’ will help people far and wide learn about water safety and location is not a restriction now to getting to experience the Kids Alive message.”
More information about the online events is available at www.kidsalive.com.au and the Kids Alive Do the Five Facebook page.
*Taylor DH, Pidgeon S, Peden AE (2020). A ten year national review of lake, dam and lagoon drowning deaths: 2008/2009 to 2017/2018, Royal Life Saving Society – Australia. Sydney
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