Skip to primary content


  • Text Decrease
  • Text Increase

Learn to swim and you could save a life

5 December 2013

Adults who supervise children at a beach, river or pool must be able to swim themselves and know CPR, says the Australian Medical Association of Victoria.

“41 Victorians drowned in waterways last year, which is the highest since 2004/05. These are completely avoidable tragedies. Supervising adults cannot be complacent or unskilled in water safety when watching children swim or play near the water”, AMA Victoria President Dr Stephen Parnis said.

“It’s never too late to learn to swim, or take a class in CPR.”

“Many of us take swimming for granted. Not everyone had swimming lessons as a child or spent a lot time at the beach. There is no shame in not knowing how to swim or being uneasy in the surf. It is never too late to learn, and if you’re spending time at a beach, river or pool, especially with children, you must be able to help in an emergency”, Dr Parnis said.

“Supervising children in the water is a routine activity which can quickly lead to a drowning in less than a minute. This includes supervision of children in baths”, Dr Parnis said.

Adults that are not comfortable around the water can undertake swimming lessons at their local aquatic centre or swim school, and are able to develop first aid and CPR skills through various courses, including those offered by St John Ambulance and Surf Life Saving Victoria.

“Play it safe by the water this Summer – know how to swim and know what to do in an emergency”, Dr Parnis said.


Media contact:

Felicity Ryan
Media & Public Affairs Officer

Australian Medical Association Victoria

Telephone: (03) 9280 8753

Mobile: 0437 450 506




For more information on swimming lessons and first aid courses:
- Surf Life Saving Victoria
- Learn to Swim
- Swimming Victoria
- Kidsafe Victoria Inc
- St John Ambulance

In this section