Six children have drowned in Qld dams in two weeks

A SCORCHING summer has seen Australian families flock to the nation's waterways but Royal Life Saving is warning that for too many, cooling off is proving deadly.

Just this month, a two-year-old Hervey Bay girl became one of 51 people to drown in Australia since December and the sixth child to die in a dam-related incident in south-east Queensland within two weeks.

Another child from the region died in a swimming pool during the same period.

Royal Surf Lifesaving CEO Justin Scarr said inland waterways had claimed the largest number of lives this summer with 25 drownings to date in rivers, creeks and dams compared to 11 at beaches and nine at sea.

Andrew Plint of Hannah's Foundation, the drowning loss and awareness service he and his wife founded following the loss of their daughter in a poorly fenced pool, said while it was impossible to keep an eye on children, particularly when they were running in different directions, summer was the time for extreme caution.

Reflecting on times when he had spoken to parents whose children had climbed through barbed wire fences or cattle grates to reach the water, Mr Plint said rural life made supervision all the more difficult and urged parents to look at any body of water as though it was as dangerous as a highway.

Royal Life Saving chief executive Justin Scarr said the majority of near drownings reported over the Christmas holidays involved children.

Fourteen were children under the age of 10, with children under five in home swimming pools accounting for over three quarters of these non-fatal drownings.

Mr Scarr said it was important for all pools to be properly fenced with a latch locked gate.

He also warned parents who had bought their children inflatable pools and families visiting friends for barbecues and parties to take extra care.

"Children drown quickly and silently," Mr Scarr said.

"It is important that children are actively supervised within arm's reach at all times."

Drowning prevention tips

  • Never swim alone
  • Always supervise children near water
  • Swim between the flags
  • Fence swimming pools
  • Learn CPR


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