NEVER FORGOTTEN: Andrew Plint with his daughter Hannah, who drowned when she was only two years old.
NEVER FORGOTTEN: Andrew Plint with his daughter Hannah, who drowned when she was only two years old. Contributed

Small lesson could mean difference between life and death

AS the Queensland Government looks to roll out compulsory swimming classes in schools, Andrew Plint believes one small lesson could mean the difference between life and death for Queensland children.

Mr Plint's daughter Hannah drowned in the pool at his family's home nearly 11 years ago.

The blonde-haired Laidley girl was just two years old.

Andrew and Hannah's mum, Katherine, have spent the past decade trying to prevent accidental drownings and helping Australian families who have lost a child in this way.

Mr Plint said having compulsory swimming lessons was important but educators needed to ensure the first thing children learnt was how to roll onto their back and float when they enter the water.

He said if his little girl knew how to do this she might have survived.

"Let's get the focus on water survival skills first,” the Hannah's Foundation director said.

"The ability to roll over and float is a really important thing for children to learn.

"Floating is not always a skill kids have but it's a simple survival tool that could mean the difference between life and death.”

During his 32-year career with Queensland Police, Jim McDonald attended three drownings of children.

The Lockyer MP said pulling a child's body from the water was something you simply could not forget.

"It's devastating for the family and the whole community to lose a child this way,” said Mr McDonald - who retired from QPS in November.

"You never forget it - just talking about it makes me very sad.

"Those children would be 18 or 21, they would be driving and leading adult lives now.

"Their families never get over it.”

News Corp papers, including the Gatton Star, have been lobbying for all schools to have swimming lessons.

The Save Our Schoolkids (S.O.S) campaign is on the way to success with Education Minister Grace Grace saying this week that the government was exploring funding options for the state-wide roll out.

The move will include a Queensland-first collaboration between Surf Life Saving, Royal Lifesaving and AUSTSWIM.

A standardised program will ensure students progress through set levels of achievement that will suit different age groups and skills.

There will also be theory components that align with the Australian Curriculum.

Sherele Moody, NewsRegional


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