Keep Watch in the Kimberley

6 July 2017

Royal Life Saving Society WA and Kidsafe recently got together to educate parents in the east Kimberley about drowning and injury prevention. The Kimberley has the third highest incidence of fatal toddler drownings and the third highest incidence of non-fatal toddler drownings of any region in our state.

44% of people living in the Kimberley regional are Aboriginal, and statistics show that those from an Aboriginal background are largely over-represented in drowning statistics, being 4 times more likely to drown than non-indigenous West Australians. For this reason it is vital that drowning prevention education programs are implemented in these communities.

The Kimberley, and especially the area around Kununurra, has a number of additional water hazards including  rivers, drains, and river crossings that flood quickly during the wet season. These, along with the usual hazards of bathtubs, pools and ponds mean educating parents about drowning prevention is particularly crucial. 

During the first week of July Royal Life Saving Society WA’s Keep Watch Co-ordinator Steph Green and Kidsafe General Manager Jessica McKenna presented toddler drowning and injury prevention talks for parents at a number of locations across Kununurra and Wyndam, including Kununurra Neighbourhood House, Child and Parent Centre-Kununurra, Crazy Crocs playgroup and Wyndham Early Learning Activity Centre. Professional Development Sessions were also conducted for 20 Aboriginal staff at the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service along with staff at Kununurra/Wyndham Community Health, while  Wyndham District High School , St Joes Outside School Hours Care and Ewin Early Learning Centre all hosted children’s presentations. 

This was the first time in a number of years that Kidsafe and Keep Watch have visited the east Kimberley, and the presentations were very well received in these communities. 

Drowning is the leading cause of injury and death in the under-five age group in WA, with four toddlers on average drowning each year. Keep Watch works hard to educate all parents about the importance of keeping close watch of children around all types of water. We also educate parents about the importance of using appropriate barriers to prevent access to water, and having a basic understanding of CPR so they are able to respond in an emergency.

Click on link below to learn more about our Keep Watch program and book a presentation for your local community group of child care centre.

Explore more button