Lately in the news we have heard how adults have drowned this summer. Swim lessons are a gift for life, the skills they learn will last forever.
So what does ‘Layers of Protection” mean?
No measure can ever guarantee that children are safe in, on and around water. It is only human for adults to sometimes lapse in their supervision of children in the home or while out and about. Children can and do find ways over fences. Children who have had swimming lessons can still drown. For this reason the SwimSAFER message promotes the application of various layers to protect children from drowning – if one layer ‘fails’ then there is another behind it that may save their life. The layers of protection are:
Correct supervision entails:
- Constant visual contact
- Being within arm’s reach of a non-swimmer and under 5′s
- Not being distracted by anything eg. ringing phones and doorbells
- Being ready to respond quickly
- The pool must be fully isolated from the house by a four-sides complying fence.
- Self-closing and self-latching gates are used.
- The fence and gate are checked regularly to ensure they are in good working order
Swimming and Water Safety Skills
For young children, the basic swimming and water safety skills include:
- Water familiarization, where small children explore and become comfortable in water environments, developing a respect for the water.
- Gaining confidence through various water activities which include and lead into “safe entries and exits *breath control *submersions *floating *propulsion with arms and legs *turning * and backfloating.
- Developing the ‘strokes’ so that your child can efficiently cover much greater distances. The whole ‘learn to swim’ experience should be positive; free from fear of force, with a focus of skill acquisition and safety around aquatic environments.
As your child gets older, the chances are that they will be exposed to potentially hazardous water situations that will require them to be ‘stronger’ swimmers. Swim Australia recommends that children are able to reasonably comfortably complete a 400m swim before they are deemed to be able to swim well. As this ability is developed, they should also be learning a variety of rescue skills.
Emergency Action Plan
In immersion incidents, every second counts. Having an Emergency Action Plan in place can reduce panic and save vital time. Consider the following:
- If a child is missing, check the pool and other water hazards first. Seconds count!
- Have a phone poolside for emergency use only.
In the case of an emergency, dial 000 … or 112 from mobile phones.
All the layers of protection need to be employed at the one time. Layers of protection are outlined by Swim Australia and endorsed by Leopold Swim School.