A keep watch campaign designed to reduce the number of children aged under five years from drowning has been welcomed across the Port Macquarie-Hastings.
The Royal Life Saving Society - Australia unveiled the campaign with the release of a new report.
That report found that 965 children under the age of five had died from drowning in Australia over the past 25 years.
In NSW, 149 children aged 0-4 years drowned between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2018.
The campaign and the damning report were welcomed by employees and volunteers involved in keeping kids safe in the water.
Vicki's Swim Centre manager Katrina Veitch says the report's figures make for terrible reading.
"Even if you take your eyes off the kids for a split second, drowning is silent," she said.
Mrs Veitch says the centre promotes parents getting off technology - phones mostly - and keeping watch over their children at the centre.
"That is what we push: watch your kids, not your phones," she said.
"Our area has a huge number of backyard pools, dams, rivers and the ocean at our doorstep.
“With summer approaching we also advocate having a designated parent watching children when they are near water.”
The swim centre manager also suggested governments needed to up the ante in relation to offering long-term swim programs.
"We need to really look at giving kids consistent, long-term water safety and knowledge," she said.
"Every child should be taught swimming. The more water awareness they get the better."
Bonny Hills' Michelle Kirkwood works as a senior lifeguard and learn to swim coordinator for Swimwell at Kendall Community Pool. She is also director of life saving with Wauchope Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club and president and life member of the Laurieton Swimming Club.
She says the statistics released for toddler drownings are shocking.
"I cannot emphasise strongly enough the importance of supervision whenever you are around water with children," she says.
I cannot emphasise strongly enough the importance of supervision whenever you are around water with children.Michelle Kirkwood
"That can be the local pool, backyard pool, beach, river or lake.
"It takes just moments for a child to enter the water or to fall in and get into difficulty.
"Drowning can be very quiet and it can be too late before anyone notices.
"I think you should enrol your children in learn to swim lessons from an early age. If you have a backyard pool ensure it is secure - always. And, be up to date with CPR because it could save a life."
Ms Kirkwood said registrations for learn to swim at the pool were "fantastic".
"We are in week two of a nine week program and we have 163 children booked at the Kendall pool," she said.
"What was very noticeable is the increase in bookings for three and four year old children."
The swim coordinator said their programs revolved around water familiarisation, confidence and safety and learning to return to the pool wall or back float.
"We also teach kids not to panic," she added.
Ms Kirkwood said the department of education's school swimming scheme offers 10 daily sessions. These are enormously beneficial, she said.
"We have good enrolments at nippers - with members coming from Wauchope and its hinterland - and also at Laurieton Swimming Club in their respective opening weeks," she added.
Swimwell Pty Ltd offers accredited lessons for all ages at Wauchope Memorial Olympic Pool. The program is backed by Austswim.
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