Water Safety Initiative to Save Australian Kids

A new water safety initiative for young children aims to halve the number of drowning deaths in Australian by 2020.

Page last updated: 05 September 2014

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5 September 2014

A new water safety initiative for young children aims to halve the number of drowning deaths in Australian by 2020.

The Minister for Health and Minister for Sport Peter Dutton launched the initiative at an early learning centre on the Gold Coast with the very children the programme is aimed at.

Developed by water safety campaigner and former Olympic swimming coach Laurie Lawrence, the programme is the latest component in the Australian Government’s comprehensive approach to water safety, which includes programmes by AUSTSWIM, Surf Life Saving Australia and the Royal Life Saving Society Australia.

Working closely with Laurie Lawrence, the Government is investing around $1 million a year to produce, develop and distribute water safety messages, DVDs and educational material targeting more than 1.5 million Australian children aged up to four years.

Australia Post is supporting the new programme meaning more children and families will benefit from receiving the water safety educational material.

The new programme builds on the highly successful Living with Water DVD, with new songs, videos and books aimed at improving water safety at the beach, around pools, in homes and on farms. It does so in a fun and engaging format for young children.

“As a father of three, the thought of a child drowning and a family being torn apart by such a tragedy is extremely distressing, ” Mr Dutton said.

“I hope that by educating children about water safety they will be able to enjoy themselves in the water without harm.

“Laurie Lawrence brings a wealth of knowledge and dedication to improving the safety of our children in water. He has developed an outstanding new curriculum that will save lives – and heartache,” Mr Dutton said.

According to the 2012-13 National Drowning Report produced by the Royal Life Saving Society Australia, 31 children aged under five drowned in that year – a 48 per cent rise on the previous year.

For more information, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220

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