The latest Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll surveyed Australian parents, asking a series of questions about water safety.
Key findings include:
- Half of parents (49%) are not aware that young children should always be within arm’s reach of an adult in the water.
- Many parents hold misbeliefs about water safety, with almost half (44%) not aware that drowning is often silent.
- Almost half (47%) of children missed out on swimming lessons and opportunities to develop water safety skills due to the COVID pandemic.
- Parents from culturally diverse backgrounds have lower levels of knowledge about water safety.
This report shows that there are many misconceptions about water safety, with half of parents (49%) unaware that young children should always be within arm’s reach of an adult in the water.Download report
The poll surveyed 2,036 parents in September 2022, who provided data on 3,351 children aged between one month and 17 years.Download questions
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Information for parents
Young children should always be within arm’s reach in or around water.
Drowning is often quick and silent and can happen in very shallow water. Always watch your kids around water.
Flotation devices do not replace adequate supervision and can even contribute to risk of drowning. Always watch your kids around water.
Appropriate supervision is key – older children cannot substitute for a parent or carer, even for children who have had swimming lessons.
Children still need parent supervision when swimming in between the flags at lifesaver-patrolled beaches.
- The Royal Children’s Hospital Kids Health Information www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Water_Safety
- Royal Life Saving www.royallifesaving.com.au/stay-safe-active
- Better health www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/water-safety-for-children
- Raising Children’s Network https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/safety/bath-water-safety/water-safety
- Life Saving Victoria https://lsv.com.au/