As part of Victoria’s annual Water Safety Week, Life Saving Victoria (LSV) has drawn attention to the importance of supervising children around water with the installation of giant inflatable ducks in Melbourne’s Docklands.
“These iconic ducks were sent out to the public in a historic Play it Safe by the Water campaign, and were one of the most memorable symbols of water safety awareness for Victorian parents and children,” said Life Saving Victoria’s General Manager of Education, Kate Simpson, at the launch at the Docklands on Thursday 3 December, 2020.
“They are a reminder of the importance of constant adult supervision of children around water.”
This year, it is estimated 145,000 Victorian children have missed vital swimming lessons each week since March 2020, not including school lessons. That’s approximately 5.2 million swimming lessons missed between March and November and puts children at significant risk as swimming and fitness levels are likely reduced.
Sadly, there have already been five toddler drowning deaths this financial year and the Victorian Drowning Report 2019/20, released this week, also highlighted that children aged 0-14 are unfortunately one of the groups that are still over-represented in Victorian drowning statistics when taking into account both fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents.
“The importance of supervision by adults of children around water is even more important this summer,” Ms Simpson said.
“Active supervision of children under 10 means they should always be in your sight and children under 5 should be within arm’s reach. Twenty seconds is all it takes for a child to drown and this can happen in just a small amount of water, including at the beach, pools, ponds, lakes, rivers and bathtubs.”
“We also encourage parents to re-enroll their children in swimming lessons ahead of summer and during summer holiday programs, to help rebuild their swimming and water safety skills.
“Swimming lessons combined with supervision will make for a safer summer and we urge parents and caregivers to prioritise water safety education this season.”
The “ducks” include a 4m tall adult inflatable duck and a 2m tall child inflatable duck. The adult duck and the child duck will always be seen together, reinforcing the message around constant supervision.
Non-gender specific, the ducks are representative of a range of adult and child supervisory relationships – parent and child, carer and child, teacher and child, or relative and child.
Following the launch event, the ducks will be used as part of a roadshow covering metro and regional areas to continue to build and maintain awareness for the campaign and the important messages around water safety and child supervision.
Life Saving Victoria acknowledges the valuable Victorian Government support for school swimming and water safety, which includes investment of $35 million for the Swimming in Schools Public Water Safety Initiative since 2017.
For more information, please visit www.lsv.com.au or www.watersafety.vic.gov.au
For further information, interviews and pictures contact LSV media unit on 03 9676 6970 or email firstname.lastname@example.org