Summer can be a time of fun in the sun and in the water, but it is also a time to be extra careful about children’s water safety.
Minister for Health and Sport Sussan Ley today urged all families and teachers involved with young children to use free water safety education resources proudly supported by the Australian Government.
New packs to promote water safety for toddlers, including songs, videos and books, will be distributed by Australia Post to more than 50,000 pre-schools, early learning centres and play groups around Australia over the next two weeks.
The resource packs are part of the Kids Alive Do the Five program developed by Laurie Lawrence. The program will receive $1 million from the Federal Government this financial year.
“The resource pack reflects Laurie’s technical expertise and passion for improving children’s water survival skills,” Ms Ley said.
“I encourage parents, carers and teachers to use these new resources. Please take the time to learn about water safety and teach your kids – it could save their life.”
Australia Post spokesperson Michelle Skehan said: “Australia Post is proud to provide support to the Water Safety Program – it is an important initiative and plays a vital role in teaching children how to be safe in and around water.”
Children under five years old are a priority for the Government’s water safety initiatives. The 2016 Drowning Report released by the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia found that the number of children under five who drowned was 30 per cent below the 10-year average.
“While the great work being undertaken by Laurie Lawrence is having a real impact, 21 youngsters tragically lost their lives to drowning in the past 12 months, so we still need to push the message that many of these deaths are preventable,” Ms Ley said.
“We have to stay vigilant and ensure our pre-schoolers are properly supervised whenever they are near water and improve water safety skills as early as possible.”
A DVD on infants’ water safety produced by Mr Lawrence as part of the Kids Alive program is also distributed to new mothers in hospitals throughout the country.
The water safety curriculum materials along with other water safety resources can be accessed free from the Kids Alive website www.kidsalive.com.au.
The Government provides $11 million a year to organisations such as Laurie Lawrence Swimming Enterprises, the Royal Life Saving Society Australia, Surf Life Saving Australia and AUSTSWIM, to keep Australians and our visitors safe at our beaches, pools and inland waterways, including rivers and dams.