Every year, during the first week of December, Water Safety Week highlights the important messages associated with being in and around water.
As part of Water Safety Week, Life Saving Victoria and the Play it Safe by the Water committee release the annual drowning report. This year’s report tells us that tragically 34 people in Victoria lost their lives to drowning. Although this was a 23% decrease on the drowning rate compared to the 10-year average, the report highlights some worrying trends.
Young people aged 15-24 had an increased drowning rate of 22 per cent, the only group to record an increase this year. This year’s water safety messages, which are aimed particularly at young people, include:
- Being aware and prepared for all conditions
- Swimming between the red and yellow flags
- Avoiding use of drugs and alcohol, especially when in or around water.
The Play it Safe by the Water campaign has contributed to a 49 per cent decrease in the fatal Victorian drowning rate since 1998.
As members of the Play it Safe by the Water committee, the Y has been actively working to deliver community messaging about drowning prevention through involvement in this successful campaign. At the Y, we deliver Swimming and Water Safety education through YMCA Swimming Lessons to over 25,000 Victorian children each week. Our program focuses on personal survival skills and water safety along with teaching the traditional skills of swimming. Encouragingly, this year’s report tell us there were no drowning deaths of children aged 0-4 years for the first time in 20 years.
Although this is a positive result, children aged 0-4 years accounted for 44% of Emergency Department presentations as a result of a non-fatal drowning incident. Parents must continue to be vigilant by actively supervising children around water at all times, remembering that 20 seconds is all it takes for a child to drown.
This year Life Saving Victoria is helping to spread the important messages of active supervision and enrolling in Swimming Lessons, through a competition aimed at young families.
Kids can enter the competition and have the chance to win some great prizes, including vouchers to some of Melbourne’s big aquatic adventure parks by downloading the colouring sheet.
Parents can submit their child’s completed work via this online submission form.
Terms and conditions for the competition.
We hope to see many entries from our YMCA swimmers and children’s program participants and maybe even a winner!
At the Y, we are pleased to see acknowledgement at a national level of a day dedicated to water safety, with 1 December now becoming the country’s inaugural National Water Safety Day.