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Summer Time - keep our children safe

The warm weather we've been waiting for has finally arrived. We all love the outdoors and the activities we can get involved in and most of the time these will land up being in and around water - braaing with friends around the home pool, fishing at the nearest river or dam, boating and water skiing and in the holidays maybe a trip to the coast. However, as these activities increase so do the number of drownings.

As a swim school it is our duty to do what we can to help prevent drownings. Unfortunately in South Africa ignorance still plays a huge role - parents and their children just seem to be unaware of the dangers that lurk everywhere and there are unfortunately still those who for some reason will go against all advice that it is given out in the media, regarding what to do in around water, and just seem to think that nothing can happen to their children. But......

Accidents do happen, drownings happen - and it could be your child!!!

Two drownings occur everyday in SA. According to ER24 the number of drownings in December 2008 doubled from those in December 2007. Most of these occured in home pools involving young children or toddlers. An unfortunate statistic that is also on the increase is the number of drownings occuring in school pools.

Please remember that the key to drowning prevention is constant parental or adult supervision and this means being with arm's reach and watching all the time! A child must never be left unsupervised near any water. A drowning can take 2 minutes and it happens SILENTLY.

We appeal to every parent in South Africa to enrol their child for swimming lessons. Swimming South Africa's mission is "Every child a swimmer by 2014". This is ambitious, but let's face it - being able to swim is a necessary life skill for every child in our country - drownings are happening everywhere - in pools, in dams, in rivers, the sea, and even in storm water drains. The only way anyone can survive in water is if they have the knowledge and skill to do so!!

When enrolling your child for lessons it is essential that you look for swimming instructors who are qualified and registered with Swimming South Africa. Check out the swim school beforehand. Although we want children to learn to swim, we don't want them to be traumatised in the process, especially when it comes to swimming lessons for babies and toddlers - be careful of instructors who will forcefully or continually submerge babies, even when they're crying. Conditions such as hyponatremia (although rare)can result.

Swimming South Africa's Todswim guidelines in this regard state:

  • Mouth must be closed when submerging
  • Toddlers who initiate submersion and repeatedly submerge must be closely monitored
  • The number of consecutive submersions should be limited to 5 and should not exceed 3-5 seconds
  • There should be enough time for full recovery between submersions
  • Time in the water should be limited to 30 minutes
  • Babies and toddlers should never be forced to submerge

To all parents - if you can't swim, now is the time to learn - not only will you get over any fears you may have, you will learn a skill that will give you a lifetime of pleasure - and who knows? - maybe one day you could save a life.

We are currently looking into some initiatives that we hope will also play a small part in helping to reduce the drowning statistics. We hope to bring news soon in that regard.

In the meantime please have a look at the following links from the ER24 website with regard to safety around the home and water. Read them, print them, put them up where you can see them, and then take them with you when going on an outing or holiday.



Take care of yourselves and your loved ones




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