Parents are being encouraged to learn cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) after two near-drownings in the first two months of spring.
A tragedy was averted at Blacktown Leisure Centre, Stanhope Gardens, last week when a teenager rescued a seven-year-old boy from the bottom of the wave pool.
This was the second such incident within a month, after lifeguards rescued another seven-year-old boy from the same pool on September 10.
A Blacktown Council spokesman said lack of close supervision was a factor in both incidents.
Resources from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead say supervision is the key to preventing drowning. They advise parents and caregivers to stay within arm’s reach of any child under four.
Researchers from the hospital also recommend that people learn CPR.
Recent data from three NSW paediatric hospitals suggests 90 per cent of children were given CPR immediately after a near drowning.
“Early CPR has been shown to contribute to greater survival rates with four times as many positive health outcomes,” trauma surgeon Danny Cass said.
“For many years the community has been told any form of CPR is better than no form of CPR and it is heartening to see the message getting through.
“This high rate of CPR may well have contributed to the decrease in drowning deaths and why we have seen an increase in near drowning.”
The Children’s Hospital has released a series of free tools online that can help parents to learn CPR for different ages, as well as other first aid skills.
Drowning is the leading external cause of death for children under five in Australia.
Professor Cass said backyard pools, including inflatable and portable pools, pose the biggest risk and are involved in 60 per cent of cases.
Other findings of the study include:
- 48 per cent of all the children previously had swimming lessons. While lessons are important, they will not prevent children from drowning
- 56 per cent of children under four who had a near drowning in a backyard pool were let into the pool area by a parent/carer and then experienced a near drowning due to a lapse in supervision
- 22 per cent of children under four who had a near drowning in a backyard pool gained access to swimming pool through a propped-open gate