Keep Watch presents at the Kidsafe Symposium 2021

20 May 2021

Royal Life Saving WA has been working for decades to reduce the impact of childhood drownings across our state. For 25 years, our Keep Watch toddler drowning prevention program has been advising Australian parents and carers about how to keep their children safe when in and around water.

Rachel Murray at the Kidsafe SymposiumThis week Royal Life Saving WA Keep Watch Coordinator, Rachel Murray, was invited to speak at the Kidsafe WA Child Injury Prevention Symposium, which was held as part of the organisation’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Injury is a major cause of preventable death and disability that affects Australians of all ages. When it comes to children, more than 27 West Australian children die each year from preventable injuries, while a further 7,000 are hospitalised.

The good news is that over the past 40 years, Western Australia has achieved significant gains in the prevention of many types of childhood injuries including burns and scalds, poisoning, drowning, falls, safe sleeping, road traffic accidents as well as the areas of product safety and injury surveillance. Rachel was invited to present at the Symposium on the history of toddler drowning prevention in WA, with a particular focus on the impact of pool fencing legislation and enforcement.

Since the inception of the Keep Watch program in 1996, we’ve seen a more than 85% reduction in toddler drowning figures in our state, which can largely be attributed to the fact that WA introduced one of the most comprehensive home pool barrier legislation protocols in Australia. This has worked alongside the significant investment made by the WA Department of Health to assist Royal Life Saving WA in educating parents and carers in toddler drowning prevention through the Keep Watch program.

Royal Life Saving Australia estimates that the reduction in drowning rates in children between 1998 and 2018 has saved an estimated 567 children’s lives nationally. We are proud of the gains being made in this area, which have seen far fewer families have to deal with the preventable tragedy of toddler drowning.

You can find out more about our Keep Watch program at the link below.

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