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Royal Life Saving Australia release 10 year analysis on drownings for children aged 5-14 Years

The Report reviewed the drowning rates for this age group over ten years from 2011 – 2021 in Australia.

During this time, 105 children aged 5 – 14 years drowned in Australia. On average there were 10 child (aged 5-14 years) drowning deaths per year. The fatal drowning rate of children aged 5 – 14 years was 0.35/100,000 population.

New South Wales

> Total

Between 2011/12 and 2020/21, 33 children aged 5 – 14 years drowned in New South Wales. Average of three drowning deaths per year for this ten-year period.

> Sex 79% males and 21% females drowned.

> Age groups

5-9 years: 55%

10 – 14 years: 45%

> Activity

The top four activities leading to drowning deaths for children aged 5- 14 years in New South Wales were: Swimming and recreating (45%) followed by boating (12%), fall (12%) and non-aquatic transport (12%).

>Overall Location

The locations associated with the greatest drowning risk for children aged 5 – 14 years in New South Wales were Beach (21%), River/Creek (21%) and Swimming Pool (21%).

The ACT and TAS figures were not broken down as they accounted for 1% and 3% of total drowning deaths and as such no trends can be identified.

Where swimming ability was recorded, 40% of children were known to be a poor swimmer and 35% of children were reported to be a competent swimmer. This figure identifies that Children are still drowning despite being considered competent swimmers.

These findings highlight the need to continue raising awareness of the risks for children aged 5 – 14 years and drowning prevention strategies at swimming pools, rivers/creeks and lakes/dams. These findings are also a reminder of the importance of child supervision beyond the first four years; children aged 5 – 14 continue to require constant adult supervision around water.

The report highlights the importance for young Australians aged 5-14 years to remain in swimming and water safety programs that align to the benchmarks set out in the National Water Safety Framework to ensure children are learning survival strokes and other water safety skills, along with competitive swimming strokes.

Read the Full report:

Download PDF • 2.34MB

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