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Be a backyard lifeguard this summer

Ashleigh Went

We love summer days – especially those spent lounging poolside.

Holidays spent with friends and family can mean more kids around the pool – and more distractions – so this time of the year it’s especially important to be diligent about pool safety.

Every year in Australia an average of 16 children under five drown in backyard pools. On a local scale, an average of one child in the ACT dies by drowning in a backyard swimming pool while at least seven others drown and are rescued – with many of those suffering severe injuries and lifelong disabilities. A little bit of extra precaution can help prevent tragic accidents – here are our tips for being a backyard lifeguard.

Closely supervise children in and around the pool

Supervision means constant visual contact with the kids. Give them your full attention – they’ll relish the quality time with you, plus you’ll also ensure that they’re having fun and most importantly, staying safe.

Put the phone down

Make sure you’re free of distractions. It’s a busy time of the year but now isn’t the moment to show off your multitasking skills. Put your phone away and put someone else in charge of preparing the food or answering the doorbell so that you can focus on the kids. Keep them within arm’s reach and make sure you have everything you need on hand – including towels and clothes – so that you don’t need to leave the kids unsupervised.

Know how to perform CPR

We’re not talking about Christmas Present Recon (if the kids can wait until Christmas morning, so can you!) but Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. CPR is such an important skill – it can literally mean the difference between life and death while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Royal Life Saving offers courses and resources and it’s well worth investing a few hours of your time to learn a valuable, potentially lifesaving skill.

Check pool barriers meet current safety standards

Pool safety isn’t just about supervising kids while they’re playing in the pool, but also ensuring they’re safe around the pool. Having a secure pool barrier with a child resistant gate is an effective way to make sure that kids can’t access the pool unsupervised.

Check that your pool barrier meets current safety standards and that it’s clear of toys, plants, furniture and other objects that kids can use to climb over the fence. Then make sure you use it! Ensure the gate is always shut and don’t ever prop it open.

Teach kids to swim and be safe around pools

Being in the water is an integral part of Australian culture, so it’s important to make sure that kids can confidently swim and be safe around pools. There is a plethora of swim schools around town where you can enrol your child in swimming lessons — not only will they pick up essential skills but classes are loads of fun and an excellent way to socialise with other kids.

You don’t need to don a red one piece and a red and yellow swim cap to be a backyard lifeguard – it’s just a matter of practicing safety and educating yourself. The ACT Government’s Backyard Lifeguard website offers plenty of information and advice on how to keep our kids safe this summer. Get your friends and family on board too, because more backyard lifeguards means more happy and safe kids in our community.

This is a sponsored editorial. For more information on sponsored editorials, click here

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Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. She’s currently furthering her studies in nutrition, but also has a Bachelor of Communication and is a qualified fitness instructor with over five years experience working in a gym. Among other things, she’s a lover of great food, coffee and fashion. She can usually be found shopping for activewear, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue More about the Author

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