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Young children love water and it can be fun for everybody, as well as great exercise. But it’s vital that you or another grown-up always watches your child when in, on or around any water, because drowning can happen quickly and quietly.

Toddler playing in pool with her mother

 

did you knowQuestion mark symbol

About 7% of child drownings happen in the bath. Stay with your child, even if she’s only splashing in a couple of centimetres of water in an inflatable pool or in the bathtub.

 

Drowning: what you need to know

Drowning is the number one cause of death for children under five.

Babies and toddlers are top-heavy, which makes them susceptible to drowning. If a baby falls into even shallow water, she cannot always lift herself out. Drowning can occur quickly and quietly, without any warning noises.

In Australia, children under five drown in:

  • swimming pools (16 children drowned in pools in 2009-10)
  • baths (five children drowned in the bath in 2009-10)
  • rivers, creeks and oceans (nine children drowned in a river or in the ocean in 2009-10)
  • dams and lakes (four children drowned in dams in 2009-10).

Children also drown in less obvious locations, such as nappy buckets, water tanks, water features and fish ponds – even pets’ water bowls. Four children drowned in these locations during 2009-10.

For every drowning, approximately three other children are hospitalised from a near-drowning incident, some of which result in severe brain damage.

Prevention and 100% supervision are the keys to keeping your child safe around water.

Water safety basics

It’s important to always stay with your child and watch him whenever he is near water – even when he can swim.

Supervision means constant visual contact with your child and keeping her within arm’s reach at all times. You should be in a position to respond quickly, whether you’re at the beach or the swimming pool, near dams, rivers and lakes, or at home when the bath or spa is full. Hold your child’s hand when you are near waves or paddling in rivers.

Supervision is not an occasional glance while you nap, read or do household chores. It is not watching your kids playing outside while you’re inside. It is always best for an adult, not an older child, to supervise.

You can also teach your child about water safety and how to swim. Many children can learn to swim by the time they are four or five.

First aid is an essential skill for the entire family to learn. Learning CPR and what to do in an emergency could save your child’s life.

Other practical tips for water safety

Around the house

The majority of drowning deaths in Australia result from a child falling or wandering into the water, particularly into a backyard pool. But a young child can drown in as little as 5 cm of water. Here are some tips to improve water safety around your house:

  • Remove any containers with water in them from around the house and make sure your child can’t get to any bodies of water, including the bath, on her own.
  • Use a nappy bucket with a tight-fitting lid and keep the bucket closed, off the floor and out of your child’s reach.
  • Always empty the baby bath as soon as you’re finished with it so older siblings can’t climb in.
  • Drain sinks, tubs, buckets, baths and paddling pools when you’re finished with them.
  • Secure covers to ponds and birdbaths and other water features with wire mesh or empty them until your child is at least five years of age.
  • Keep aquariums and fishbowls out of reach of small children. If you have an inflatable pool that is more than 300 mm in height, pool fencing laws apply. Outdoor spas also have to be fenced.

Outside the house – dams, ponds and tanks 

Children don’t always understand, apply or remember rules, especially when they’re distracted by play. So a securely fenced, safe play area can be an effective barrier between small children and water hazards.

A secure play area  can prevent your child from wandering near dams, creeks or other bodies of water, and gaining access to hazards such as farm machinery, horses and farm vehicles. FarmSafe Australia recommends a ‘safe play’ area, supported by family rules and supervison, as the most effective way to prevent serious injury and death to small children on rural properties.

  • Fence off the area between the house and any bodies of water.
  • Teach your child not to go near the dam, creek or water tank without you.
  • Secure a toddler-proof lid over any water tanks.
  • Fence off, drain or seal ponds while your child or visiting children are less than five years of age.
  • Make sure there are no trellises, ladders, windows or trees that your child could climb to gain access to the water tank.

Beaches, lakes and rivers 

  • Always stay with your child when he is playing in or near the sea, lakes or rivers. Hold your toddler’s hand near waves and when paddling in rivers.
  • Take your child only to patrolled beaches where surf lifesavers are present, and swim only between the flags.
  • Teach your school-age child what to do if she needs help: stay calm, float and raise an arm to signal to a lifeguard or lifesaver.

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DOGGGGGGGGGGGGGMy dog has got no manners.

I think he’s very rude.
He always whines at dinnertime
while we are eating food.
And when he’s feeling thirsty
and wants to take a drink,
he takes it from the toilet
instead of from the sink.

He never wears a pair of pants.
He doesn’t wear a shirt.
But worse, he will not shower
to wash away the dirt.

He’s not polite to strangers.
He bites them on the rear.
And when I’m on the telephone,
he barks so I can’t hear.

When I complained to Mommy,
she said, “I thought you knew:
the reason that his manners stink—
he learns by watching you

by Bruce Lansky 

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SUNMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Staying cool during a long, hot summer can be pricey. But before you turn on the A/C, read these tips on ways to keep costs down during a heatwave.

Beating the heat doesn’t have to mean cranking the A/C — air conditioning is really hard on the budget, not to mention the power grid. This summer, consider these 12 frugal tips to keep you cool in the hot weather — they’ll not only save you money, but will make your home greener too.

1. Get grilling
When it’s hot outside, using your oven or stovetop can make your house even hotter. Stop sweating in the kitchen and make use of your barbecue whenever you can. You can use the grill for everything — even pizza. 
2. Adjust your thermostat
Try not to leave the AC running when you’re not home. There are other ways to keep your house from heating up too much (see below). Also, consider saving the air conditioning for the very hottest days of summer — and use it sparingly, such as turning it off when you’re sleeping.

3. Change your filters
If you have central air, make sure you give your system a once-over and change the filters so that it runs more efficiently and pumps clean air through your home.

4. Keep the curtains closed
Keep your windows curtained or shuttered during the heat of the day — that will also help the air stay cooler when the sunshine is at its peak.

5. Use fans
Ceiling fans and portable fans will keep the air circulating through your home so that it stays cooler and fresher.

6. Cover the vents
If you are running AC, make sure you cover the vents in rooms you don’t use to push the cold air where you want it — especially at night. Covering the downstairs vents can make your upper floors cooler when you’re sleeping.

7. Camp out
Hot nights can be the hardest part of summer, so why not get out of your upstairs bedroom and sleep somewhere cooler? Set up camp in the backyard or in the basement — if you have young kids, you can also make it fun by pitching a tent and making it like a camping trip.

8. Use cold showers
Bring down your body temperature before bed by taking a cold shower or bath. It will help make you more comfortable and help you get to sleep even on the hottest nights. To get super cool before bed, stand in front of a fan to dry off instead of using a towel — that gives your body an extra chill that will keep you cooler for longer.

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9. Peg out
Your dryer makes your home even hotter, so use your clothesline instead. Pegging out can also help cut your electricity bill. And you get an added bonus — clothes dried outside smell so much better.

10. Get a pool (kiddie that is)
Every kid on my block had a Mr. Turtle Pool when I was growing up — kid-sized pools are a great way for your little ones to keep cool. Adults and pets can also cool their heels in the cold water when they need it. If your kids are too small to play safely in a kiddie pool, then turn on the sprinkler to cool them down.

11. Have lots of cold ones…
Keep yourself well hydrated with cold, icy beverages, preferably non-alcoholic — while a cold beer or two goes down smoothly on a hot day, the alcohol can leave you dehydrated and feeling even worse.

12. Make homemade popsicles with the kids
Packaged popsicles and ice creams are expensive — enlist your kids in helping you make popsicles of their own. You can also make your own cones and drumsticks — they taste better than the ones you buy at the store.

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WATER3333

Floodwater areas

Never allow children to play in floodwater areas, and wash floodwater-contaminated toys with hot water or disinfect them before they are used. You should also wash your children’s hands frequently (always before meals).

If your home has flooded

When returning to your home after a flood, be aware that flood water may contain sewage. Protect yourself and your children by following these steps:

  • keep children and pets out of the affected area until clean up has been completed
  • very young children should avoid playing directly on timber floorboards or any damaged tiled floors if possible – be aware of the risk of injury from sharp edges on tiles or raised nails
  • clothing, bedding and other soft/fabric articles (including children’s toys) should be put on a hot wash (60°C or the highest temperature indicated on manufacturer’s instructions)
  • do not let young children play on affected grassed or paved areas until the area has been cleaned down and restored to its normal condition
  • ensure confined areas like garages or cellars are well ventilated and are not accessible to children and animals

Water for infants during flooding

Where the drinking water supply is either interrupted or contaminated, it is important to take precautions for formula-fed infants. Usually, communities affected by floodwater are provided with water bowsers (tankers holding uncontaminated water). In these circumstances there are three options for the use of water to make infant formula milk:

  • use bowser or bottled water, boiled and allowed to cool for no more than 30 minutes in a clean covered container – then follow the manufacturer’s instructions on making up the feed
  • commercially ready-made formula milk may be used as an alternative to powdered feeds made up with bowser water

If neither of these options are possible because there is no energy to allow boiling, then:

  • bottled water (table, spring or mineral water) can be used unboiled to prepare baby feeds – but the prepared feed should then be used immediately
  • unboiled bowser water should not be used

The bottled water supplied to the public by the water company during flooding incident is suitable for making up infant formula. Parents with infants that are unwell with diarrhoea and vomiting should seek medical advice.

If the water company has advised that the domestic supply is unsafe for drinking then avoid using this for bathing infants. In this situation bowser water, or bottled water, are safe alternatives. A safe alternative to bathing is to use baby wipes for hand cleansing and washing infants.

Buying your own bottled water

If you buy your own bottled water, be aware that some natural mineral water may have a high sodium content. Look at the label for sodium or `Na’ and check its level is not higher than 200mg a litre. If it is, then try to use a different water. If no other water is available, then use this water for as short a time as possible. It is important to keep babies hydrated

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