Liverpool Plains Recreation and Swimming Centres has announced that the first round of Learn to Swim classes for the 2017/18 season will commence at Quirindi Pool, on Monday November 6. They will held between the hours of 2 and 6pm, on Monday to Friday. Each lesson is of half hour duration, at a cost of $25 per lesson. Details of a second round of classes in 2018 will be announced at a later date.
According to the Mayor of Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC), Councillor Andrew Hope, the most recent figures released by Royal Life Saving Australia, showed nearly 300 people drowned over a 12 month period. He said this should be a wake up call to the importance of ensuring that our children are trained to be competent swimmers so they can safely enjoy a favourite Australian pastime.
“We have a responsibility to commit to the idea that all Australian children have the right to a comprehensive swimming and water safety education. The skills of swimming, survival swimming, and basic rescue are all life savers, yet there are many barriers including cost, distance and the simple awareness that far too many people drown each year that must be recognised and addressed,” Councillor Hope said.
“Thanks to greater awareness and more parents committing to their children’s safety, the number of children aged 0-4 years who drowned in the 12 month period decreased by 30% against the 10 year average of 30 drowning deaths, with a decrease of 38% against the 10 year average recorded for children aged 5-9 years. However, the death of any child that could be prevented by greater care/supervision being exercised and giving a child the skills necessary to be competent around water is one too many,” he said.
“The vast majority of drowning deaths in children under five resulted from a fall into water while 14% drowned while bathing. Swimming and recreating were the most common activity prior to drowning among children aged 5-14 year. This highlights the importance of a basic level of swimming skills and water safety knowledge in this age group.
“Of real concern is the fact that between 2002 and 2015, 83 children under 5 drowned in private swimming pools. These findings serve as an important reminder of the need to supervise and the need to be within arms’ reach of your child. They require all of your attention, all of the time. It is vital to restrict a child’s access to water by installing and maintaining a barrier, such as a pool
fence with a gate which self-closes and self-latches,” he continued.
“Laws in NSW designed to protect children from drowning require even small inflatable pools with a water depth of 30 centimetres to be surrounded by a fence that is 1.2 metres high and fitted with a self-closing and latching gate. Additionally, all private pools must be registered and this can be done on line at - www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au.
“You can find more information regarding your responsibilities in regard to swimming pools on Council’s website at http://www.lpsc.nsw.gov.au/index.php/planning-building/swimming-pools,” he said.
“It may surprise many to know that 83% of drownings are males and that the average age of those who drowned is 43.1 years. Sadly, the largest number of drowning deaths occurred among people aged 25-34 years, with the age group recording a 27% increase against the 10 year average. The 35-44 years age group recorded the second highest number of drowning deaths with an increase of 11% against the 10 year average. Swimming lessons at an early age may well have prevented many of these deaths.
“When you think about those nearly 300 people who lost their lives you need to put it into the reality that each is a story of real people impacted in a most tragic way. It is not just the person who lost their life but also the families they left behind, the rescuers who may have attempted to save their lives, and the communities that are reminded each time they pass the causeway, swimming pool, rock platform, river swimming hole or beach where the tragedy occurred,” he continued.
“Please don’t live to regret a failure to make your child water aware and enrol them for swimming classes to familiarise them with water and to introduce them to water safety rules. Call the REC Centre on 6746 3122 for further details and to book a place,” Councillor Hope concluded.