Royal Life Saving claims two Injury Prevention Awards

26 March 2021

Royal Life Saving WA is pleased to have been recognised with two awards at this week’s 2021 Injury Matters Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Awards, held at the Duxton Hotel in Perth. The event recognised individuals and organisations who are having a positive impact on the community by conducting activities that aim to prevent and reduce the impact of injury within Western Australia.

Royal Life Saving WA works hard throughout the year to develop and promote programs that enable all Western Australians to engage safely in water activities and is constantly looking to collaborate with other organisations to deliver these programs in at-risk communities and for those who are over-represented in drowning statistics.

The first of the awards we received this week was for Outstanding Achievement in Injury Prevention or Safety Promotion. The award recognised the work of our Keep Watch toddler drowning prevention program which has been engaging with parents and carers across Western Australia for the past 25 years. The program has seen toddler drowning statistics significantly reduce as we work with a range of community, industry and government organisations to deliver presentations, courses, resources and advertising campaigns informing parents and carers of the steps they can take to prevent their child from drowning.

A glass award plaque in a storage boxThe program has also ensured that at-risk communities, including those from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds can access Keep Watch information and resources in a format that suits them, with specialised resources released in 2017 to specifically target these communities.

The success of Keep Watch in reducing the impact of toddler drowning has been outstanding, with toddler drowning figures reducing from an average of 6.6 per year between 1999 – 2008, to 3.4 per year between 2009 – 2018. We’re proud of the success of this program in saving lives and honoured to receive this award recognising the program’s vital work.

The second award was received for Outstanding Achievement in Influencing Injury Policy or Practice and recognised the collaboration between Royal Life Saving WA and Curtin University in research that informed our new Make The Right Call adult drowning prevention initiative.

Royal Life Saving WA’s Research and Evaluation Officer, Meg Abercromby, has worked with the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health (CERIPH) at Curtin University to conduct research and analysis of drownings involving older adults. They’ve also worked together to interview and engage with older adults, enabling their lived experience to provide a deeper understanding of their engagement in water activities and the issues that affect them in relation to drowning.

This study highlighted the need for a program that directly targets older adults to reduce drowning, including strategies that target behaviour change and community engagement. The results of the study directly informed the development of our Make The Right Call public education campaign, which was launched in late 2020 and highlights drowning risks and prevention strategies, encouraging older adults to engage in water activities safely.

Royal Life Saving WA is extremely proud to have received both of these awards, and looks forward to continuing our successful collaboration with Curtin University into the future as we aim to see a continued reduction in the impact of drowning across the Western Australian community.