Most of us enjoy having a swim to cool off in summer. Did you know there were 56 deaths in Victoria in 2018/2018 due to drowning? And this number is on the rise. Year 8 student Lenna Campbell has some pertinent advice for us all about how we can enjoy ourselves safely in the water this summer…
The dangers of swimming and some useful advice
Swimming comes with big risks, especially in open waters. In 2018/19 alone, 56 drowning deaths and 54 non-fatal drowning incidents were reported across Victoria, attended by paramedics.
Factors that contribute to drowning incidents include lack of supervision, kids not knowing how to swim, not wearing a life jacket and falls near water when walking, paddling, wading, fishing and boating.
To decrease risks, there are a number of things that can be done- for example, increasing protective barriers around pools, covering wells, doorway barriers, play pens, fencing swimming pools and more. These protections have been recommended by the World Health Organisation and are supported by individual state laws.
Also, when parents/ carers bring children to the pool, beach or lake – they should always keep an eye out for them, even if they are pretty confident at swimming. There’s always a small chance they could be in danger. If you are a younger person, the advice is to not take any silly risks, stay close to the shore and in designated swimming areas. Also don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable in the water or around water, even if someone is peer pressuring you.
Another idea for Victoria to prevent drownings and support parents with supervision of their kids could be the compulsory enrolment of children into swimming lessons from a young age. Free lessons could be provided for children under 12 years of age.
Also, educating people and making them aware about the dangers of swimming is truly an important notion and will help make the risk of drowning more unlikely.
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