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YMCA Victoria water safety message reaches international audience

YMCA Victoria water safety message reaches international audience
October 21, 2019

YMCA Victoria delivered a significant water safety and prevention message through a research presentation at the recent biennial World Conference on Drowning Prevention in Durban, South Africa held from 4th to 11th October.

Over 600 delegates from 64 nations attended the conference to hear from the world’s foremost experts, research, systems and information on drowning prevention, rescue, lifesaving and water safety.

The exchange, debate and development are designed to find ways to reduce death and injury in all aquatic environments worldwide.

Every year 360,000 people die from drowning across the world. It is the third leading cause of accidental death, and 91% of drowning deaths occur in low and middle income countries.

YMCA Aquatics Project Manager Janelle Falkingham presented key research developed with Life Saving Victoria, which is due to be published later this year. Falkingham advised that the research analyses primary school students; self-reported swimming competency, water safety knowledge and how safe they feel in different aquatic environments and conditions.

Commenting on the research Falkingham noted: “The results show a significant increase in overall water safety knowledge when comparing pre and post survey data after the children had participated in a series of YMCA Swimming Lessons.

“YMCA Swimming Lessons is a holistic curriculum developed with the cause of drowning at the forefront of our delivery outcomes. This research provides us with the evidence that our program can indeed save lives.”

Although the research conducted was a pilot study, it may have impact at a global level, which is especially important to Falkingham: “The statistics surrounding children losing their lives as a result of drowning are particularly disturbing to me.

“The most devastating part is that drowning statistics are hugely underreported in many low income countries, so we know it is actually far worse than this. 

Falkingham added: “After attending the world conference as a delegate in 2017 I was determined to return and share some of the incredible work we do in Australia and at the Y.

“I know by sharing this work we can make a difference.”

@wcpd2019 #preventionispossible

Image of conference delegates courtesy of YMCA Victoria

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