'Horror' drownings spark plea to teach kids to swim
"A CHILD can drown in a cattle trough".
That was the simple message from Somerset Regional councillor Sean Choat who called on the region's parents to teach their kids to swim after a recent spate of child drownings.
Cr Choat spoke passionately at the first council meeting of the year yesterday and pleaded with parents to be aware of the risk of all water sources, not just swimming pools.
The former Ipswich West MP said dams, cattle troughs, ponds and pools were all danger zones for young children.
"There's that old adage that it's always hotter in the west and we have people playing in water all over the region," he said.
"Almost every week in summer you hear of children drowning.
"Council has pools where children can get swimming lessons but I think we've got to start putting some responsibility on the parents to get their kids taught to swim.
"I would love to see the Federal Government step up and say, 'ok parents, if you get your children to swimming lessons we'll give you a tax deduction', how wonderful would that be?"
Swim Factory owner Peter McMahon, agreed that it wasn't just pools that posed a risk to young kids.
Mr McMahon, who has been teaching Ipswich kids to swim for decades, described the country's recent spate of child drownings as "horrible" and fully supported Cr Choat's tax incentive proposal.
"I love the idea. It's fantastic and we appreciate any help the government can offer," he said
"There are still so many children out there who can't swim. Water is a part of our culture and way of life, especially in weather like this.
"We start teaching at three months of age and it's so important to understand water and to be able to look after yourself.
"But the message for parents is always supervision, supervision, supervision."