NT parents are being warned to stay vigilant around rivers and pools during the holiday break.
Latest figures from the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia show there have been 52 drowning deaths around the country these holidays.
“Katherine is surrounded by water so we are really trying to spread the message to stay safe around the water and to respect rivers. With one big downfall of rain the rivers in this area can change rapidly,” Stephen Gazzola, from Royal Life Saving Northern Territory, said.
“We live around water in the NT and our rivers are quite dangerous,” he said.
Statistics for toddler drownings in the NT have decreased due to the introduction of NT Government Water Safety Awareness Program and Learn to Swim vouchers, Mr Gazzola said.
But non-fatal drownings continue to pose a serious risk.
“For every drowning there there are estimated to be 7.6 non-fatal drownings, which results in many living with a permanent disability,” Mr Gazzola said.
“Over the Christmas break there have been a lot of under four-year-olds involved in non-fatal drownings. It is devastating for the family and we are really trying to spread the message to stay safe around water.”
According to Research by the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia, a lapse in adult supervision was the major risk factor in 100 per cent of toddler drowning deaths.
“The majority group drowning are males in the 25-44 age group, who are making poor decisions around alcohol and drugs around rivers,” Mr Gazzola said.
“The major danger for Katherine is swimming in rivers and next is back yard pools,” he said.
Royal Life Saving Society Northern Territory CEO, Floss Roberts said, “mobile phones are a major distraction, parents need to actively supervise their children at all times when in and around the water.”
Royal Life Saving Society ‘Keep Watch’ actions to prevent drowning:
1. Actively supervise children at all times. Supervision of children under the age of five should be within arm’s reach.
2. Ensure your pool fence is in good working order. Ensure your pool gate is in good working order and do not prop it open.
3. Teach water awareness. Access the NT Government Water Safety Awareness Program and Learn to Swim vouchers to help with the cost of swimming lessons.
4. Learn how to resuscitate. Sign up for a CPR course to learn what to do in the case of an emergency.
For more information visit the Keep Watch website.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday at 6am from the Katherine Times. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.