As part of Victorian Water Safety Week, LSV launched two giant rubber ducks into Melbourne Docklands Waterfront to raise awareness of the importance of supervision and swimming lessons ahead of the peak summer season.
“These iconic ducks were distributed to the community in a historic Play it Safe by the Water campaign a number of years ago, 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 & Sport, Kate Simpson.
“They are a reminder of the importance of constant adult supervision of children around water.”
It is estimated 145,000 Victorian children have missed vital swimming lessons each week since March 2020, not including school lessons. That’s over 5 million swimming lessons missed between March and November, putting children at significant risk as their 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,” said Ms Simpson.
“Active supervision of children under 10 means they should always be in your sight while children under five 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 even 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.”
Not limited to Docklands, the iconic ducks are set to embark on a journey across the state to spread the important message of child supervision plus swimming lessons equals a safer summer.
Hard to miss, the adult duck stands 4m tall and the child 2m. They will always be seen together, reinforcing the message around constant supervision.
LSV acknowledges the valuable support of the Victorian Government into school swimming and water safety, which includes a cumulative investment of $35 million for the Swimming in Schools Public Water Safety Initiative since 2017.
If you’re out and about and see the ducks make sure to snap a photo and tag @lifesavingvictoria and #duckwatch