The winter school holidays have started and the NSRI’s WaterWise Academy has appealed to parents and care givers to be vigilant when their children are near water.
Most drownings of children under five years of age are at, or near, their home. Special attention should be paid to washing basins, baths, dams, rivers and swimming pools. Small children should not be able to get close to these dangers alone without responsible adult supervision. Older children should be reminded of local dangers that they may face around water.
Here are a few tips from the WaterWise Academy to keep children safe while they are on holiday.
- “Contrary to popular belief children do not thrash around and shout for help when they are drowning. They may be able to wave and shout for help when in distress, but drowning is usually a completely silent event.”
- “Fast flowing rivers are dangerous a dangerous place for children to play near to and should not be crossed.”
- “Winter seas are unpredictable and dangerous. Do not play on wet sand or wet rocks on the beach and are a tell-tale sign that waves have been washing up that high. You may well be caught off guard by an unusually large wave and swept into the water. When fishing from rocks a life jacket should be worn.”
- “Whenever setting out on a boat always put a personal floatation device (lifejacket) on your children before you launch. It is extremely difficult to put a lifejacket on once you are in the water.”
- “Make sure that you, as the responsible adult in the boat, have a cell phone with a fully charged battery in a waterproof pouch, a cd or mirror and a referees whistle to signal with. These should be attached to your lifejacket and not in a cupboard or locker. Make sure to check your safety equipment and practice using it before you need to.”
Take the time to put emergency telephone numbers into your cell phone before your holiday.
In a real emergency it is very difficult to stay calm and remember what number to use to call for help. Make sure that you have saved the ambulance and rescue telephone number 10177 (this works from a cell phone and a landline). Write your local emergency numbers on a piece of paper and stick it on your home telephone so that care givers and child minders have fast access to them.
The National number for a sea rescue emergency is 112 from a cell phone but go to www.nsri.org.za to find out the local sea rescue emergency numbers for your area.
The WaterWise Academy Instructors have taught over 750 000 children how to avoid danger in or near water, what to do in an emergency, who to call for help, how to rescue a peer, and last but not least, Hands On CPR. The lesson is given at schools at no charge. Our WaterWise Academy Instructors prevent drowning tragedies through education.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE
SMS 32287 with your name and a message of support for our Sea Rescue crew