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Effort to stop drownings

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November 15, 2017

Trikki Kidz in Barooga learn how to stay safe around water.

Sandy Becker is on a mission to prevent children from drowning in Australia.

It’s a big task — last year there were 291 drownings across the country, 45 per cent of which were children under the age of four.

There were also 685 people hospitalised for non-fatal drownings, many of which led to brain injury and other lasting conditions.

‘‘That is a horrific statistic which shows there is a huge risk for children who don’t know how to swim properly,’’ Ms Becker said.

She will be visiting schools and the Cobram Barooga Swimming Club to teach children, parents and teachers about water safety.

Ms Becker is a YMCA swimming teacher and pool lifeguard, but she said drownings could just as easily happen outside the pool.

‘‘There are a lot of children in Cobram that live on farms where there are dams, tanks, channels and water troughs that could easily drown a child,’’ she said.

‘‘That’s why I’ve been trying to push swimming lessons. It’s a skill for life, and I would love it if every child in Australia could learn to swim.’’

Royal Life Saving Australia’s 2016-17 national drowning report found inland waterways were the main locations of drownings, with 97 deaths in that time.

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