Three quarters of WA parents lack current CPR skills

3 August 2017

A recent survey conducted by Royal Life Saving Society WA and Curtin University found that only 25% of WA parents and carers of children under the age of five have completed CPR training in the past 12 months.

The survey, conducted to evaluate Royal Life Saving’s Keep Watch toddler drowning prevention program, asked respondents a number of questions designed to assess their understanding and behaviour around the 4 key messages of Keep Watch, which include:

1. Supervise – always Keep Watch of your child in and around water
2. Prevent your child from accessing water unsupervised
3. Teach your baby or toddler water familiarsation skills
4. Learn CPR so you can respond in an emergency

Research shows that a person's skills in CPR decrease by 50% after two months if they haven't practised the skill, and after 3 years only 2% of people can perform CPR effectively. For this reason it is recommended that individuals update their CPR certificate every 12 months.

Royal Life Saving Society WA Senior Manager Health Promotion and Research, Lauren Nimmo, says the recent survey findings are concerning. “The fact that 75% of WA parents and carers say they haven’t attended CPR training in the past 12 months is an issue that must be addressed. This is a vital skill that all people should have, especially those caring for young children as they are most likely to be the first person on the scene when a child drowns. We encourage all parents and carers to consider booking into a CPR course.”

Another key finding of the survey was that one-quarter of parents didn’t know that drowning is the leading cause of death in toddlers in WA. Drowning claims the lives of more children under 5 than any other type of injury each year. 70% of parents also believed that the beach or rivers were the places where toddlers were at greatest risk of drowning, when in fact 90% of toddler drownings occur in and around the home.

Ms Nimmo says that a pleasing aspect of the survey was that 91% of parents knew that being within arm’s reach of children around water was the best way to prevent drowning. “Most childhood drowning occurs within just a few minutes of absent supervision so it’s encouraging to know that parents and carers are very aware of the fact that effectively keeping watch around water means being within arm’s reach. We also encourage parents to give their children all of their attention all of the time around water, and put away any potential distractions - particularly mobile phones.”

Parents and carers can learn more about Royal Life Saving Society WA's CPR courses at the link below.

Explore more button

More information about the Keep Watch toddler drowning prevention program can be found at the following link.

Read more button