Summer is here!  Beautiful warm days and of course swimming. Swimming is a great recreational sport and most of us enjoy cooling off in the ocean or swimming pool. Water safety should be on top of your agenda, especially when it comes to children under the age of 5.

In South Africa, drowning rates are highest among children between 0-4 years followed by 5-14 years. In the Western Cape, 1473 fatal drowning incidents were reported between 2010 and mid-2017 (Statistics South Africa, 2017).

Children under the age of 15 years old account for 30.2% of all fatal drowning in the country with the highest mortality rate occurring in children under the age of 5 years old.

Here are a few tips on keeping your children safe this festive season:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Maintain constant supervision.
  • Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well.
  • If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.

Be water wise this summer!