National drowning report raises concerns

15 September 2015

The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report for 2015 has been released today, and RLSSWA's General Manager Community Relations Greg Tate was in Canberra for the event.

The report found that nationally 271 people died as a result of drownings last year, and although that's a 6% reduction on the 10 year average, it's a 2% increase on the previous year's figures.

In Western Australia 39 people drowned, up from 30 last year, with 43% of those deaths happening in regional areas of our state. Mr Tate says "That's disproportionate considering that only 10% of the population resides in those areas, and we need to make sure that a lot of our programs and services are targeted in regional parts of WA."

Matt Cowdrey and Greg Tate at the launch of the 2015 National Drowning ReportOne of the most important factors in ensuring those statistics improve is "RLSSWA's Swim for all" program, which aims to ensure all children aged 5 to 15 participate in Swim and Survive lessons, and we're working hard to make that accessible to all, irrespective of their social background or location.

Another concerning statistic from the National Drowning Report is 26 toddler deaths across the nation, which is a 30% increase on the previous year's figures.  Comparatively WA did well in that age group with 2 deaths, but RLSSWA believes that's still 2 deaths too many.

Mr Tate says "There are 4 simple measures that parents and guardians can enact to ensure the safety of their children around home pools. The first and most important is adult supervision, or Keep Watch, the second is having an approved barrier around your pool, with a gate that self closes and latches, thirdly, you should enroll your children in infant aquatics lessons, and lastly you should learn resuscitation (CPR) so if any of those 3 measures fail you actually have the ability to save a life."

Royal Life Saving WA encourages all pool owners to do a safety check in the lead up to the swimming season, and if your pool gate doesn't self-close and latch it should be fixed straight away.