Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) is urging parents to keep watch over their children around any water source this summer no matter what.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said Council’s award-winning Downs Little Lifeguards water safety program is preparing for the summer’s activities.
Mayor Antonio said the Downs Little Lifeguards program evolved from the Just One campaign.
“The original program highlighted that one act, such as active supervision, knowing CPR, doing a first aid course, checking safety equipment or enrolling in swimming lessons, could save a life,” Mayor Antonio said.
“TRC Aquatic Centre staff and volunteers from Royal Lifesaving Queensland devised the more targeted Downs Little Lifeguards to provide a community focussed water safety education program.
“More than 400 young people have completed the drowning prevention program since it started in 2014,” Mayor Antonio said.
“Council is committed to educating the community and eliminating drowning deaths, especially in inland waterways.
“The goal is to teach as many families as possible swimming survival skills and talk about unknown dangers in dams, creeks and rivers.”
TRC Community Development and Facilities portfolio leader Cr Geoff McDonald said Australian summers were synonymous with swimming and regional aquatic centres were looking forward to a busy season.
“This year we are encouraging parents to avoid distractions around pools to prevent drowning deaths,” Cr McDonald said.
An initiative of the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia, the Keep Watch @ Public Pools program aims to eliminate all drowning deaths of children under five years of age in all aquatic locations.
“Distractions such as answering the phone, attending to another child, or ducking inside to grab something, can have tragic consequences if a toddler is left unattended by water,” Cr McDonald said.
“Swimming is an enjoyable Australian pastime, and it’s great to see so many people enjoy our fantastic aquatic centres and visiting dams and waterways in our region over summer.
“A recent Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report is a sobering reminder that swimming is a dangerous pursuit and parents and guardians need to be particularly vigilant watching young children and non-swimmers near water.”
“The 2019 Report showed that 276 people died in Australia because of drowning in the 2018/19 financial year.
“Council is again working hard to prevent drownings in our region over summer, with the expansion of our award-winning Downs Little Lifeguard program, Weekend Warriors program and a public education campaign.
“Children aged eight to 17 who are capable of swimming 50m continuously are also welcome to join our Downs Little Lifeguards program at Miami Beach February 29 and Tallebudgera Creek on March 1.”
Cr McDonald said that drowning is one of the leading causes of death in Queensland for children under the age of five years old.
“While lifeguards do a great job keeping our pools safe, they are not childminders and cannot provide one-on-one supervision for every patron in the centre,” Cr McDonald said.
“Parents and guardians need to be prepared, be close and provide all of their attention to their child all of the time. Swimming is great fun, but we want everyone to stay safe this summer.”
For more details about the Downs Little Lifeguard program or to register interest in the 2020 extension activities, please visit www.tr.qld.gov.au/downslittlelifeguards