Promoting water safety are, front, Alanis O?Mahony, 4, with swimming instructors at Grafton Lifestyle Centre, back left, Sharon
Promoting water safety are, front, Alanis O?Mahony, 4, with swimming instructors at Grafton Lifestyle Centre, back left, Sharon

Children at risk of drowning ? anytime

By JULIA ILES

WINTER may not be great for swimming but during the cold months 35 children drown in pools, dams and waterways nationally each year.

Swim co-ordinator Jo Clare at the Grafton Swim Academy, along with the Royal Surf Life Saving Society, want to make parents aware of the dangers.

"Kids are still attracted to water whatever month it is; don't assume that because it's winter the same safety precautions don't apply," she said.

"Chairs should not be propped up near pool fencing and gates should always be shut; it's harder in the country where there are dams without fencing but the message to parents is to constantly supervise your kids."

She said in the winter months the water was much cooler and when children fell in they were often not used to the temperature and started to panic.

"What we recommend is for children to start swimming lessons at a young age so they become used to the water in both indoor and outdoor conditions. We take children for water confidence classes as young as six months old," Ms Clare said.

Four-year-old Alanis O'Mahony started swimming lessons when she was two and can now swim 25 metres confidently.

"Alanis is a great swimmer now, which is partly due to her learning about water from a young age.

"We also teach children techniques to follow if they get into trouble in the water such as to lie on their back," Ms Clare said.

The teachers at Grafton Swim Academy have qualified through the Austswim program.

For children wishing to participate in swim classes they can attend the South Grafton pool tomorrow, 10-11am, and from 3.30-5pm, or on Thursday, 10-11am.



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