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Monday, 6 December 2004

Keeping kids water-safe

With summer fast approaching, doctors at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick (SCH) are reminding parents and carers to supervise their children whenever they are near or in water.

'In Australia, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of five. An unsupervised child can drown in as little as 5cms of water,' said Dr Linda Durojaiye, Staff Specialist at SCH.

According to Dr Durojaiye, the key to keeping your children safe is to supervise them at all times when swimming, playing in or near water, and at bath-time.

'Children in the water need constant supervision by an adult. It's important to remember that flotation aids are not lifesaving devices, and it's a good idea for parents and carers to learn resuscitation techniques. These skills may be needed to save a child's life. Courses in resuscitation are available from The Royal Life Saving Society of Australia, St John's Ambulance and The Red CrossWater familiarisation classes can also help to introduce basic water safety,' she said.

'All pools and outdoor spas must have a safety fence that complies with Australian Safety standards. Gates need to be maintained to ensure they close properly and gates should never be propped open allowing free access. Inflatable pools are also a risk for unsupervised children. They should always be emptied after use and stored away, out of the reach of children.'

'At the beach, remember to always swim between the flags and again supervise your children. If you are swimming in rivers, lakes, dams and creeks, always check the water for any hidden dangers,' said Dr Durojaiye.

Nappy buckets and other similar containers should be covered with a secure lid and stored away from a young child's reach. Ponds and drains must be covered with a grill.

Further information on water safety is available from the Sydney Children's Hospital website -

For Further Information Contact:

Amy McIntosh, Public Affairs Officer Tel: 9382 3578 - Mob: 0411 730 842

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