More vigilance is needed to help prevent children from drowning this summer, says Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne

The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne calls for extra vigilance to help stop more children from drowning this summer.

“It is very timely to remind ourselves of the absolute importance of constant vigilance and attention to water safety to ensure that summer times remain happy times for our children,” said Professor Warwick Teague, RCH’s director of trauma services.

“For the past four days, we have been confronted with the dire realities of the dangers that water plays for children.”

Boy and girl playing on the beach during summer vacation.  Children in nature with beautiful sea, sand and blue sky.  Happy children on vacations by the sea running in the water
RCH said children in the water should be under constant adult supervision. (Getty Images / iStockphoto)

Four children were admitted to RCH in the last four days with “devastating injuries” incurred in or around the water on Christmas Day.

“Yesterday, a seven-year-old child swam in a pool in the backyard and drowned after a period of about 30 seconds underwater,” said Prof. Teague.

“It is important to recognize that this child was a skilled swimmer, this child had attended swimming lessons and was supervised by an adult at the time of the incident,” he said.

RCH’s main advice is that children in the water are under the constant supervision of adults.

Professor Warwick Teague from Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
Professor Warwick Teague has issued a warning about children drowning this summer. (Nine)

“Children under the age of five need to be within reach at all times. Children under the age of 10 need to be within our field of vision at all times and ‘at all times’ means exactly that,” said Prof. Teague.

“Unfortunately, children can drown in less than 20 seconds.”

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He added that children should also have limited access to water to increase awareness of danger levels.

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