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Keep Watch Ambassador celebrates toddler drowning drop.



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MEDIA RELEASE

KEEP WATCH AMBASSADOR CELEBRATES TODDLER DROWNING DROP Monday, 7 November 2005

Dennis Jensen an ambassador for the toddler drowning prevention program Keep Watch announced today a dramatic decrease in drowning deaths for children aged between zero and five years old.

Dr Jensen said The National Drowning Report 2005 compiled by Royal Life Saving Society Australia detailing drowning deaths between June 1 2004 and July 30 this year revealed a 45 per cent reduction on the five year average for children under five.

“This is a significant reduction in drowning deaths for children and is a great credit to Royal Life Saving Society Australia for the constant messages of safety they provide,” he said.

Dr Jensen said despite a decrease on the five year average of 51 drowning deaths to only 28, more work had to be done.

“While I am very pleased with the reduction in the toddler drowning rate, ongoing education and awareness is essential to see this number reach zero - 28 drowning deaths is still 28 too many, ” he said.

Dr Jensen said all parents should be aware of the figures and do everything in their power to prevent tragedy in their own homes.

“Parents should always supervise their children in and around water, undertake water familiarisation, restrict water access and learn resuscitation,” he said.

“In Tangney alone there are over 6000 children under five years old and I urge all their parents to keep a watchful eye over them, especially in the coming summer months.”

“As a Keep Watch Ambassador I ha ve handy fact sheets, resuscitation fridge magnets and brochures on keeping young ones safe around water - these resources are available to everyone and can be collected from my office.”

Dr Jensen said backyard pools have remained the site where the majority of toddler drownings occurred, while lakes, dams, rivers, ponds, oceans and bathtubs also remained high risk sites.

The Keep Watch program has four key messages for parents and carers of young children. These are: 1) Supervise your Child - be within arms reach whenever they are in or around the water 2) Restrict Access to Water - fence you pool and lock the gate, or on rural properties create a child safe play area away from water bodies 3) Familiarise your child with water - enrol in an Infant Aquatics Class 4) Learn resuscitation and update your skills annually

The 0-5 year Age Group • 28 children aged between 0-5 years drowned in the 12 months to June 30, 2005 • This figure represents 11% of all drowning deaths • 17 children (61%) were males • 15 children (54%) drowned in swimming pools • 19 children (68%) fell or wandered into the water prior to drowning

The 2005 National Drowning report is available for viewing on www.royallifesaving.com.au

ENDS

Media contact:

Lucy Holmes (08) 9354 9633