Royal Life Saving Australia reports that 271 people drowned in Australian waterways between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015. In this period, this figure of 271 drowning deaths is an increase of 5 drowning deaths (or 1.9%) on the 266 drowning deaths recorded in 2013/14. Overall, Royal Life Saving Australia does report that there has been a reduction when looking at drowning over ten years. The figure of 271 people is a reduction of 17 deaths (or 5.9%) on the 10 year average of 288 drowning deaths.
Most significantly, the rate of death of children and young people is horrifying. Of the 271 drownings 26 (10%) drowning deaths occurred in children aged 0-4 years and 9 (3%) drowning deaths occurred in children aged 5-14 years.
How can parents and educators help?
- Swimming lessons with parents;
- Create buddy systems for children to support and look out for each other;
- Every parent is on duty around water;
- Know who the trained First Aid officers are and where the first aid kits are located;
- Educators talking with children about the importance of water safety;
- Visits from life guards or ambulance officers can be a good way to reinforce the message of staying safe;
- Increase awareness of having respect of water, not just respect for the ocean. As seen in the data from Royal Life Saving Australia, inland waterways are a major area of drowning.
It’s not just the beach!
LOCATION AND ACTIVITY
- 99 (37%) drowning deaths occurred in inland waterways
- 55 (20%) drowning deaths occurred at beaches
- 36 (13%) drowning deaths occurred in ocean / harbour locations
- 63 people (23%) were swimming and recreating immediately prior to drowning
- 53 people (20%) were using watercraft immediately prior to drowning
- 43 people (16%) drowned as a result of falls into water