A winter drowning reminder

7 June 2018
With the cooler weather here it’s easy to forget about the importance of taking measures to prevent drowning in our community, but national drowning statistics show that 33 people drowned during the winter months across Australia last financial year.

Royal Life Saving Society WA is committed to reducing the impact of drowning in our community, and our education and awareness campaigns continue throughout the year to encourage all Western Australians to be aware of the risk factors associated with drowning and address them.

20% of home pool drownings happen during the winter months, so we are encouraging all home pool owners to continue regular safety checks around their pool. These checks should include ensuring pool gates and fences remain compliant, with gates self-closing and self-latching. Pool gates should never be propped open at any time of the year as they are a vital barrier to help prevent toddlers and small children from accessing pools without adult supervision. Home pool owners should also ensure that no garden furniture, toys or other climbable objects are left by the pool fence.

It is also vital to ensure that children’s swimming and water safety education is not put on hold during the winter months. Winter is in fact the best time of the year to participate in Swim and Survive lessons, as children are more likely to build on skills and endurance, and may progress quickly to the next stage. Swimming, as regular exercise, strengthens the immune system so children may be less likely to fall ill over the cooler months, while having breaks over winter often results in children’s skills experiencing a plateau or even going backwards by the time the warmer weather returns.

Another major year round risk factor for drowning is the potentially fatal cocktail of alcohol consumption in, or our around water. For those taking part in winter boating or fishing it’s extremely important that alcohol consumption is kept away from the water environment.

With heavy rains across WA in recent days, and continuing throughout this week, flooding is a real risk where rivers are nearby, so its vital we all remember to “Respect The River”. Royal Life Saving Society WA also encourages anyone taking part in water based activities to ensure they are wearing a lifejacket. This is all the more important during the winter months when weather conditions make rivers more unpredictable and conditions can change quickly.

We encourage all Western Australians to keep water safety and drowning prevention at the forefront of their minds year round, to assist us in achieving a reduction in drowning rates across the WA community.