AFTER a spate of near-drowning incidents on the Gold Coast over the weekend, the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) is urging parents and carers to keep a closer eye on children in and around the water.
Paramedics attended five near-drowning cases on the Gold Coast last Saturday, all of which involved very young children in backyard swimming pools.
QAS Senior Operations Supervisor Gavin Fuller said many Queensland families were making use of their pools during the recent hot weather, and it is crucial they take some simple safety measures to avoid drowning incidents.
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“Drowning is a significant risk, especially for small children. That is why it’s so important to ensure all children are constantly supervised in the water,” Gavin said.
“Many people might think they would hear their child get into trouble in the backyard pool, however small children often make no sound at all when drowning.”
“It is a silent killer and can happen in seconds— it’s a heartbreaking experience for families,” he said.
“Removing objects from around the pool fence to reduce the risk of children climbing to reach the pool gate, and taking your child for swimming lessons from an early age are just some of the safety measures people can take to reduce drowning risks,” Gavin said.
“Children can be very curious and can easily enter a fenced off pool if they see a way to climb in or get through a gate that’s propped open— so it’s vital parents move all climbable objects away from the pool fence and ensure the gate is always securely closed,” he said.
“As additional safeguards, CPR signage should be displayed in a prominent position near the backyard pool and the pool should be appropriately fenced in accordance with relevant pool safety laws.”
Gavin also urged parents to be vigilant near creeks, dams and resort pools which pose similar drowning risks.
“The same rules for pool safety at home should also be applied while on holidays when families may be swimming in unfamiliar hotel or resort pools, creeks and dams.”
Gavin stressed the importance of learning and quickly administering first aid, specifically CPR, in the event of a near-drowning incident.
“We know correctly delivering first aid can mean the difference between life and death. We regularly hear of cases where family members have applied first aid —especially CPR— which has resulted in saving the life of their loved one.”
“If you do require help, please call Triple Zero (000) straight away. Our Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) will talk you through what to do, and if required, provide CPR instruction,” he said.
For further information on QAS first aid courses, phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68), between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday or visit https://bookings.qld.gov.au/services/firstaid/.
To find out more about the Kids Alive water safety program, visit http://www.kidsalive.com.au/.