Surf Life Saving Queensland calls for compulsory CPR lessons

Surf Life Saving Queensland said pool owners should take CPR lessons to help prevent drowning deaths.
Surf Life Saving Queensland said pool owners should take CPR lessons to help prevent drowning deaths. Photo: Peter Braig

Surf Life Saving Queensland wants all pool owners to undergo compulsory CPR lessons, following a spate of pool drownings over the Christmas period.

There have been a number of close calls in Queensland pools this summer, with three near drownings in Cairns alone.

In November, two sisters aged three and four drowned in their family's backyard pool in Logan.

Since Christmas Day in NSW, four children aged under five have drowned - three in pools and one in a fish pond.

SLSQ Academy Operations Manager, Ken Clark, said while prompt calls to triple zero are "wonderful", CPR from a knowledgeable bystander could save lives.

"The first four to eight minutes are crucial," he said.

Mr Clark said it's often after a tragedy that people wish they had the skills to perform CPR.

"People say "oh I wish I had done that class, I've been wanting to for ages but never got around to it'," he said.

Part of the benefit of CPR training, Mr Clark said, is that it gives people the confidence to help out in the case of an emergency - a skill all backyard pool owners should have.

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"What it does do is it gives you the skills to be a first aider - in your mind, you say 'I can do this'," he said.

"Any attempt at resuscitation is better than no attempt but there's nothing like practice, so good CPR is even better."

While proper pool fencing and a secure gate is also vital to prevent backyard drownings, Mr Clark emphasised that parents must still watch their kids.

"You've got to supervise the kids," he said.

"But teaching them to swim is the first thing."

The drownings have prompted calls for swimming lessons to be mandatory in all Australian primary schools.

In an opinion piece for Fairfax Media, YMCA NSW chief executive Leisa Hart said all Australian kids "deserve the skills to survive".

"Astonishingly, it's thought that three out of five Australian children leave primary school without basic swimming skills," Ms Hart said.

Ms Hart said the government, schools, Surf Life Saving Australia, the Royal Life Saving Society Australia and other organisations need to work together to teach children water safety.


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