Water safety a priority

November 29, 2017

Morgan, Sandy and Molly from YMCA Yarrawonga with Country Buddies Childcare and Kindergarten students learning about water safety.

As the weather gets warmer and water activities become more frequent the Country Buddies Childcare and Kindergarten five-year-old preschool class were taught about water safety in time for summer.

Guest speaker Sandy Becker from the YMCA alongside helpers Molly and Morgan, spoke to students about water safety as part of their year-round program.
“Water can be lots of fun but it’s also dangerous,” Sandy told the children as the number one factor for them to remember coming into summer.
Using magnetic boards students created water safety scenarios based around private and public pools, rivers, lakes, dams, channels and water tanks.
As well as creating water scenarios for the children to identify risks themselves, Sandy also explored rules and what happens when they’re not followed while also talking about safety at public pools and the role of a lifeguard.
Although not a focus in or around the water as such, the topic of personal safety, the use of mobile phones in public places and where to go and what to do if something isn’t right were also topics discussed to ensure children’s safety if these scenarios were to arise at public water locations.
Talks by the YMCA are being held at pre-schools and schools in Yarrawonga, Mulwala, Cobram, Barooga, Numurkah and Nathalia and Sandy said she would like to take the talks further but it can be difficult.  
“We would love to do the talks further afield and talk throughout more of the shire but this time of year is such a busy period so we just can’t make it around everywhere.”
“We feel though that it’s important to get the message across to kids about being safe in and near the water because you know some parents just forget to get the message into their kids heads that they need to be safe and what we’re telling them to do here is going to save their lives around water.”
There are countless safety messages that need to be drummed into the community Sandy said but the YMCA change the way they format the water safety talks depending on the age group of the students they are speaking to.
“We change it up a bit depending on who we’re talking to, like today we are drumming in the notion of an adult being present at all times with the child while when we talk to primary or high school students we talk more about the statistics and the dangers within the water.”
The YMCA themselves have a ‘Your child your focus’ initiative at their pool meaning children under the age of four are to have a parent physically in the water with them, from the age of five and up a parent must be within arm’s reach and from the age of ten an adult must be present in the vicinity of the pool.
Sandy said it was reassuring knowing she has given the children knowledge on water safety and playing a small part in them potentially saving themselves or somebody else’s life
“It makes all the difference, when we spoke at a school in Cobram a few weeks ago a young boy told us how his two-year-old brother had fell in the pool and he knew how to save him without he himself getting in the water and potentially putting himself in danger as well due to hearing these types of talks.”
“To know we could be having the smallest part in the saving of a life is just fantastic.”

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