Royal Life Saving study finds 532 young Australian children have drowned in 19 years
Parents are on high alert after a new study found that a popular Australian activity claimed the lives of 532 young children over 19 years.
Australian parents received a terrifying warning ahead of the summer months, with new research revealing just how common infant drownings really are.
According to the findings of Royal Life Saving, 532 children under the age of four have drowned in Australia in the past 19 years.
Of those, 40% were only one year old, with the organization revealing that the risk of drowning triples as soon as a child begins to crawl, with the risk peaking shortly after a child’s first birthday.
And in addition to these tragic deaths, Royal Life Saving also found that for every drowning death in children under the age of four, eight children will be admitted to hospital following non-fatal drowning, with an average stay totaling 1.5 days.
Unfortunately, some will be left with brain damage for life.
More than half of all deaths – 52% – have occurred in swimming pools, with 77% of deaths caused by a child accidentally falling into the water.
In almost all cases, the child was not properly supervised at the time.
With 38% of drownings occurring in the summer, Royal Life Saving has launched its Keep Watch campaign, reminding parents that drowning is often quick and quiet, but generally preventable.
CEO Justin Scarr said the campaign aimed to spread awareness of four simple safety tips: supervise, restrict, teach and respond.
“We know the risk of drowning triples once a child is one year old and becomes more mobile,” said Scarr.
“Children are curious about their surroundings, which means parents and guardians can’t afford to be complacent at the water’s edge. We remind parents that “children cannot help themselves around the water, you need it”.
“Children who experience non-fatal drowning can experience long-term health complications or life-changing injuries. It is devastating for families. “
Mr Scarr said supervision was the most important factor in prevention.
“This year has been difficult for parents, in many cases families have tried to juggle work and home schooling. We are concerned that this could lead to distractions and gaps in adult supervision, ”said Mr Scarr.
“We urge parents and caregivers to watch this summer. Check your pool fence and gate to make sure they are in good working order.
“If supervision fails, a functioning pool fence and gate is the next line of defense to protect your child from drowning. “
The organization noted that everyday distractions – such as answering the front door or checking an email – could be enough for a nightmare to unfold.
Click here for more information on the campaign.
Originally published under the title Horrific research reveals drowning claimed the lives of more than 500 children in less than two decades