NO DROWN TOWN
Act Personally, Influence Locally, Affect Nationally
The ‘NO DROWN TOWN’ concept is built around the idea of encouraging individuals and families to make their homes a ‘NO DROWN TOWN’, using the Safer Swimming ‘layers of protection’ message to take care of those closest to them – This is about taking responsibility and is seen as the highest priority, associating it with the colour red.
The concept goes well beyond what each family does at home though – in their NO DROWN TOWN. Their efforts, and/or those of others in the community, can extend to the local community, their Neighbourhood, School, and even Council. This is connected with the colour blue, representing water in its various forms throughout the community, which is the focal point of the risk.
Those collective efforts will then have the best chance of changing things nationally and help families across the country. The colour green associates this with the growth and well-being of a country unified to address the tragedy of childhood drowning.
In summary, this is Act Personally, Influence Locally, Affect Nationally.
In the logo, the links are symbolic of those 3 layers of the community being connected and working together toward a NO DROWN TOWN ideal.
ASSA Ambassadors have this to say about NO DROWN TOWN:
No measure can ever guarantee that children are safe in, on and around water. It is only human for adults to sometimes lapse in their supervision of children in the home or while out and about.
Children can and do find ways over fences, and even those who have had swimming lessons can still drown. For this reason the NO DROWN TOWN message promotes the application of various layers to protect children from drowning – if one layer ‘fails’ then there is another behind it that may save their life. Layers of protection:
All the layers of protection need to be employed at the one time to ensure optimal water safety.
Did you know that in March 2009, the American Medical Association’s Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine reported a study by the USA’s National Institute from Health that concluded:
Participating in formal swimming lessons was associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in children between the ages of 1 to 4.
ASSA advocates constant supervision by a competent adult as the single most critical factor in drowning prevention. Royal Life Saving Society Australia report that “the lack of direct adult supervision is the main factor in 70% of toddler drowning deaths”.
Correct supervision entails:
When children are around water, accompanying adults must know who is responsible for direct supervision. Children have drowned at aquatic venues because an adult has mistakenly thought another adult was supervising.
Where there is a group of children involved with the water, enough competent adult supervisors need to be appointed. The adults who are supervising must be vigilant water watchers, and must never leave their ‘post’ until replaced by another competent adult. The Pool Watcher lanyard is a great aid for this essential task.
Did you know that children drowned last year despite pool fences, ‘supervision’ by older children, swimming and water safety lessons and flotation devices? These are NOT substitutes for constant supervision by a competent adult. A competent adult should be able to affect a rescue.
As proper supervision relies on people, it is never 100% reliable. There will be times when caregivers are unable to actively supervise children every minute of the day. This is why barriers need to be in place to lessen the chances of children getting to the water hazard. Where possible the water hazard should be removed (eg. Empty wading pools when not in use and put them away). Where it is not possible to remove the water hazard it should be fenced or b locked. For home pools, this means a pool fence that meets the relevant government requirements, at the very least. Key points to maximise barrier protection:
Children, however, can climb fences. Children as young as 2 years old, have drowned in backyard pools after using chairs, bins, pot plants, eskies etc, to boost themselves up to open the gate or climb over. Ensure that there are no items in the yard that children could drag over and use to climb the fence. Outdoor furniture must be secured or too heave for a child to move.
Props which hold open a gate as a parent works in the yard, have also lead to drowning. Never prop open gates – a child slipping through or forgetting to remove the prop can easily lead to tragedy.
Please note: all too often, when parents have bought a new house with a pool – or started renting one – they have mistakenly believed that the pool fence and gate are in good working order and/or compliant with government regulations. Sadly, such an assumption has contributed to tragic consequences. New owners or renters should demand a Certificate of Compliance… and inspect the fence and gate for possible non-compliance anyway.
Did you know that a simple way to test if a gate is self-closing and self-latching is to see if it swings freely to close and latch from any open position?
Being able to swim well is one of the greatest gifts that can be bestowed upon a child – especially in Australia. Fun, healthy water-based opportunities abound. Equally, a high level of swimming and water safety skills are necessary for full, enjoyable participation – as part of a safer framework.
For young children, the basic swimming and water safety skills include:
As your child gets older, the chances are that they will be exposed to potentially hazardous water situations that will require them to be ‘stronger’ swimmers. We recommend that children are able to reasonably comfortably complete a 400m swim before they are deemed to be able to swim well. As this ability is developed, they should also be learning a variety of rescue skills.
Combined with learning the physical skills, the child is developing parallel water safety knowledge.
This ranges from knowing not to go near the pool unless with an adult through to swimming between the flags when at the beach.
Please note: no matter how well your child can swim, they are never safe around water. There is no such thing as ‘drown-proof’ or ‘water-safe’.
While swimming lessons do not substitute for proper supervision are barriers, learning to swim can make a huge difference if your child accidentally falls in.
Did you know that the over use of floatation devices (e.g. inflatable arm bands) can give children a dangerous false sense of ability, taking away their respect for deep water and their respect for deep water and their self preservation. When the devices are removed, children often forget they are not wearing them, and leap into the water only to sink straight to the bottom. Although they may have a limited place in teaching and recreational settings, they must not be relied upon and are NOT a substitute for supervision. We recommend periods of ‘floatie-free’ time while swimming if you choose to use floatation devices.
In immersion incidents, every second counts. Having an Emergency Action Plan in place can reduce panic and save vital time. Consider the following:
In the case of an emergency, dial 000 … or 112 from mobile phones. The operator will ask you some important question, including:
If you haven’t already done so, revise, refresh or enroll yourself in a Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) course so you are prepared in case of an emergency. CPR accreditation is current for a year.
Our organisation is the leading national body for water safety Swim Schools across Australia. If you’re looking for water safety classes for toddlers and kids, find your nearest school online and enrol your child today.