Grants help parents to learn lifesaving skills

26 July 2019

The Royal Life Saving Society WA is determined to see all West Australians have an opportunity to learn first aid and CPR skills, and our Heart Beat Club program is a step towards seeing this become a reality. The Heart Beat Club is a short three hour training session that covers first aid for common childhood injuries including burns and scalds, choking and drowning and provides information on how to perform child resuscitation or CPR.

Drowning is the leading cause of preventable death in children under the age of five in Australia, and CPR performed at the scene is one potential way to protect children in the event of an emergency. In many cases of child drowning, a parent or carer will be the first person on the scene and applying appropriate CPR skills may be the difference between life and death.

Rachel Murray, Keep Watch Program Coordinator, says “the single most important drowning prevention strategy is supervision of young children, but unfortunately we know that at times adult supervision lapses, allowing a child to find their way into water. When a parent or carer discovers a child who has drowned their ability to apply basic CPR skills has in many cases been the one thing that has saved a child's life. The Heart Beat Club grants are one way we are working to increase the number of people in the community with these lifesaving skills."

For the last five years free Heart Beat Clubs have been made available through the Keep Watch toddler drowning prevention program thanks to funding from the WA Department of Health. The Keep Watch Heart Beat Club grants are available to community organisations working with parents who may have difficulty completing first aid training due to factors such as cost, accessibility or language barriers. The aim of the grants is to increase parents’ capacity to respond in an emergency and ultimately reduce the number of fatal drownings and serious drowning-related injuries in children under five years in our state. 

In 2018/19, 31 free courses were delivered, with over 400 parents and carers taking part. Feedback from hosting organisations included:

  • “Great workshop and a wonderful community service” 
  • “The course content was informative and interactive and they learnt so much” 
  • “It was great, lots of info and practical skills they can use” 


The delivery of the grants courses was supported by the Royal Lifer Saving WA training department, and our wonderful community trainers who delivered the Heart Beat Club sessions in a variety of locations to a wide range of participants. Some of these sessions faced challenges such as having children present in the training room or working with participants with limited English skills. 

Applications for Heart Beat Club grants for the 2019/20 financial year are now open. If you or someone you know may be interested in applying for a Heart Beat Club grant you can find the application form at the link below.

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