For many of us, it feels like the world has been put on hold during COVID-19. With the extra time we are spending at home, increasing numbers of people are learning a new skill - like picking up an instrument or teaching themselves how to paint.
But there is one skill that might just be the most important of all - knowing how to help in an emergency situation. Knowing first aid and CPR gives you a set of skills that is critical in many emergency situations, not just aquatic emergencies.
According to the Royal Life Saving Society (Australia), in most drowning or near-drowning events, a family member is usually the first on the scene. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation and responding quickly is paramount to increasing a patient's chance of survival. Many children have their parents to thank for saving their lives, as they knew how to perform CPR.
Approximately 60% of injuries requiring first aid treatment occur in the home, meaning that it is likely to be your own family who require your help in an emergency situation.
Learning First Aid and CPR normally requires a face-to-face course, however due to COVID-19 many are now being taught remotely. Some companies are offering courses entirely online, some are mostly online with just the practical component face-to-face, and others are allowing the theory to be completed online now with the practical component to be completed once restrictions ease. There are many organisations who teach these life saving skills - check out the links below for more information:
To download and print a copy of a CPR chart, free of charge, visit NSW Ambulance. The information provided in the chart is not intended as a substitute for completing a First Aid or CPR course.
(This information is not intended to substitute the lifesaving skills learnt through participating in a First Aid or CPR course. Col Jones Hurstville urges all our parents and carers to enrol in a course today.)
Danger - Check for danger
Response - Is the patient unresponsive?
Send for help - Shout for help, call 000 for an ambulance, and ask for a defibrillator if there is one available
Airway - Check airway is open and unobstructed
Breathing - Look, listen and feel for breathing
CPR - Start CPR (30 compressions : 2 breaths)
Defibrillator - Attach a defibrillator as soon as it is available
Backyard pools are perhaps the most obvious places which pose a risk of drowning, but even if you do not have a pool at home, the risk of drowning around the home is still very much present. There are many areas both inside the home and around the garden which present as dangers to young children.
The Royal Lifesaving Society Australia (RLSA) have found that drowning deaths have occurred in the following places:
Often, it is young children and toddlers who are most at risk of drowning in these places and it is often when supervision is lacking and parents or carers attention is diverted. RLSA recommends that when there are known bodies of water around the home, that supervision is constant. Where possible, bodies of water should be removed - bathtubs emptied immediately, ice and liquids removed from eskies, and buckets emptied (particularly following rain).
The Royal Lifesaving Society Australia also highlights the importance of supervision in social settings, where bodies of water around the home may not always be known and where attention may be divided. On many occasions there may be confusion as to who is watching the children, with adults wrongly assuming somebody else is. To avoid confusion, RLSA advise that in social settings at least one responsible adult is designated the 'child supervisor' at all times.
For more advice and fact sheets, and to read a real life tragic story on an esky drowning death, head to the Royal Life Society Australia's website.
There are many ways you can help your children at home to gain confidence and skills – and they’re not all water based!
Play in the Shower or Bath
Students who are afraid or not comfortable submerging their faces can practice in the shower or bath.
The key is to start with a small amount of water (soap and shampoo free of course!) trickling down from the top of their heads – only some will reach their faces and is a great way to slowly introduce them to water on their faces in a familiar and fun environment. You can even encourage your children to wear their goggles in the bath and let them explore at their own pace – they will probably be having so much fun they don’t even realise they have submerged their face! Remember to remain encouraging, do not force it and always supervise them! Every child learns at their own pace.
Taking small steps (to retain the correct position) they can practice walking and soon you will have a penguin in the house!
Summer may have ended but the risk of drowning still remains. It is so important that parents remain vigilant with their children around water, not just at pools and beaches in the warmer months but around the home, especially the bath year-round. Ross Gage, Chief Executive of the Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA) states that “drowning doesn’t discriminate, and as accidents can occur in nearly any body of water, in any season, and to almost anyone, maintaining skills is paramount.”
According to Royal Life Saving Australia, the majority of bathtub drowning deaths occur when there is an interruption to routine, such as the phone or doorbell ringing. Many parents and carers believe that they’ll only be gone for a minute - but this is enough time for a tragedy to occur.
In Australia, on average, 5 children under the age of five drown, and 47 are hospitalized due to bathtub drowning incidents each year. One in four hospitalizations results in permanent injury such as brain damage. As a parent or carer it is hard to be in all places at once and bath time poses one of the highest risk of drowning for babies and toddlers.
Like Col Jones Swim School, Royal Life Saving are committed to educating parents to reduce the number of drownings. They have developed the Keep Watch @ Bath Time program which informs parents and carers on ways to prevent their children from drowning through Active Supervision. It has four key elements:
Actions to help prevent your child drowning during bath time:
Josephine Moss, Swim School Coordinator.
Josephine and the team at Col Jones Swim School at Hurstville are committed to educating our families on water safety. To see more of the Royal Life Saving Society's bath time safety advice, please visit www.keepwatch.com.au.
Myth: My child can swim now so I can just drop them off to their lesson.
Fact: All children aged 12 years and under, must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian at all times in the centre. Whilst our pool deck supervisors and teaching staff are an important safety feature in our programs, they are not intended to replace the close and active supervision of parents or caregivers.
This is regardless of ability. Your child may be able to swim very well, however parental supervision is still required. Often we have students who need to use the toilet during their class and need their parent to accompany them. There are also times when first aid needs to be provided (such as for a nosebleed for example), which calls for mum or dad's support.
Myth: Teaching Aids are only for young children and beginners.
Fact: Teaching aids are used in every single level at Col Jones Hurstville, including in our competitive stream and our adults program! Teaching aids are not just arm floaties or back bubbles - they also include kickboards, pull buoys, flippers, and noodles. All of our teaching devices serve an important purpose in our program, whether that's helping to build confidence, or isolating a particular skill to work those muscles harder. We've detailed some of their uses below:
Author: Josephine Moss (Swim School Coordinator)
On average, one child dies each year from a portable pool related drowning in Australia. Many more are hospitalised and are left with severe, life-long conditions including brain injuries.
Portable pools may seem safer - they are generally not as deep as in ground pools, are often temporary, and may appear less of a drowning risk. The fact is though, they are just as dangerous as below-ground pools. These pools include inflatable wading pools, plastic kiddie pools and even larger plastic pools with a frame.
Summer may be over, but until portable pools have been emptied and stored safely, the risk remains.
To read more on the Don’t duck out - Make it SAFE campaign, and read a first-hand recount on a portable pool tragedy, head to Royal Life Saving Society's website.
Author: Josephine Moss (Swim School Coordinator)
We live by the motto that swimming is a gift for life because learning how to swim not only teaches important life skills, it creates oodles of fun for the whole family with precious memories created along the way. But did you know swimming is also a gift for a HEALTHY life? Learning to swim strengthens our bodies, our minds and our immune systems.
We had a very successful summer season this year, many swimmers achieving personal bests.
It's great to hear so many stories in our swim school of children competing for the first time at their school swimming carnival. It's wonderful to hear the parents talk about the increase in their child's self esteem and self confidence.
We have had many children progress on through to Zone / Cluster and onto Mackillop / Regionals. Well done to everyone for giving it your all!
2020 NSW Junior Metropolitan Championships:
Earlier this month we had 6 swimmers qualify for the NSW Metropolitan Junior Swimming Championships. We saw all their hard work pay off with sensational swimming and huge PB's across 9 events.
Congratulations Chloe, Jacqueline, Maya, Samantha, Samuel and Thomas! These swimmers are all members of our competitive squads and have trained hard to achieve such an amazing feat! All the best for another successful swim at the NSW Junior State Age Championships!
It has been a real pleasure talking to our students and their parents and listening to stories of triumph, place-getting as well as the fun they had in participating. One of the recurring conversations with parents was the fact that they "just wanted their child to participate and not be sitting all day being just a spectator".
If your child is nearing the age when they can become eligible or weren't quite ready to compete this time round, here are some tips to get your child ready for the school swimming carnival the next time it comes around.
1. Consistency is the key:
Turning up regularly to your lessons is extremely important in skill acquisition. Just like learning other physical skills such as tennis, surfboard riding, ice-skating etc swimming requires time and practice. Turning up to your lessons is vital to the learning process!
2. No Breaks over Winter:
The next block of school swimming carnivals start again in December 2020 (Catholic Primary Schools) and in February 2021 (Public Schools). So, we have roughly 10-12 months to prepare. By "taking a 3-4 month break over winter" and returning in September/ October it leaves only 8-12 weeks to "catch-up" to lost skill practice and swimming fitness levels. It's even less if you take into account a summer holiday vacation. This places a child's preparation at a disadvantage compared to the child who swims all year round maintaining and further developing their swim skills and swimming fitness levels. So my tip is to swim through winter for the best possible preparation. We have indoor heated facilities all year round, so no matter what the weather outside the learner will be comfortable.
3. Dives and Turns Classes:
Enroll your child in our dives and turns classes to prepare their diving and tumble turning skills for race day. These classes teach your child how to do a dive and tumble turn and they run all year round. We have classes on both weekdays and weekends so check with our reception staff for further details and availability.
4. Race Skills Course:
Over the January school holiday period we had amazing success with students participating in our "Race Skills Course". Many students benefited from our coaches expertise and tuition in further advancing their race starts, turns and streamline skills in all four competitive strokes. We will be running a Race Skills Course every school holidays.
5. Swim Club / Friday Night Races:
Turning up to a school swimming carnival for the first time can be quite daunting. To help make the experience easier and more enjoyable why not come along to our Friday night races with Jones Swim Club. Everyone is welcome. Jones swim club is a caring and supportive environment and a great way to be introduced to swim races. The races are held every second Friday night. Please check with our reception staff for more details.
Hopefully the above tips help in giving parents a few suggestions on how to best prepare your child to prepare for the next swimming carnival. As always if you have any further questions, please contact one of our friendly staff who will be more than happy to help you. We want to see your child excel!
Author: John Sortwell - Centre Manager, ex-competitive swimmer, father of 3 and aquatic educator for over 25 years.
Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSS Australia) released a survey report into parents' and carers' behaviour around home swimming pools. RLSS Australia in conjunction with Griffith University surveyed more than 500 parents of children under 5 in NSW who have access to a home swimming pool. This included both owners of backyard swimming pools and those living in apartment complexes with a pool.
For children aged under 5 years old, home swimming pools are the leading location for drowning.
There were two key safety messages which were the focus of this survey:
1. Supervision around home swimming pools
2. Restriction of access around home swimming pools
The results revealed that among parents of children under 5 years old, there is a greater value placed on supervision than restricting access to this age group. Whilst 63% of respondents reported always supervising children around their pool in the previous month, only 45% reported always restricting access to their pool in the previous month.
This is a major concern as statistics show that lacking either of these factors contributes to drowning deaths. RLSS Australia have previously published data following a 13 year study into drowning deaths in NSW. Looking at children under 5 years old who had drowned in a home swimming pool, supervision was completely absent in the majority of cases.
Regarding access to the pools, data revealed that of those children who had drowned in this period:
This data confirms the absolute necessity of both constant active supervision and restricting access with compliant, well maintained fencing.
Royal Life Saving Society’s Keep Watch Advice:
1. Supervise: All your attention, all of the time
2. Restrict Access: Ensure there is an adequate barrier between the water and your child
3. Water Awareness: Enrol in swim lessons to gain familiarity and water confidence
4. Resuscitate: Learn the life saving skills of CPR
Author: Josephine Moss (Swim School Coordinator)