Survival technique key for vulnerable children

MAN ON A MISSION: Andrew Plint still grieves for his young daughter but is determined her death will not be in vain.
MAN ON A MISSION: Andrew Plint still grieves for his young daughter but is determined her death will not be in vain. Melanie Keyte

THE death of his daughter in a backyard pool drowning at Laidley inspired Andrew Plint's tireless efforts to promote water safety.

Convincing those who haven't been directly touched by the same level of tragedy that hit the Plint family in 2007 has proven an uphill battle for Hannah's Foundation, as they try to promote their vital message.

Mr Plint, an experienced police officer, says complacency around the water among Australians is rife, yet many people lacked the basic skills to save themselves.

The co-founder of Hannah's Foundation has thrown his support behind the News Queensland's Save our Schoolkids campaign, but says he'd like to see more of a focus on survival skills.

"I'm supportive, but they need to teach survival techniques, such as the ability to roll over and float on your back,” Mr Plint said.

"That's the single most valuable skill you can have in the water, because most people struggle to swim more than 100m without tiring and having to lean up against something. If you can float on to your back after you tire of swimming, it means you can continue to breathe.

"In young children, if they happen to fall into a pool or a dam, if they have the presence of mind to roll on to their back, they can work out where they need to swim to in order to get out of trouble.”

Mr Plint said another positive of bringing water survival training into schools would be to level the playing field.

The cost of private lessons is prohibitive for many less well-off families, he said, which left certain children more vulnerable to tragedies in the water.

He said governments would have to address the lack of swimming pool facilities in some outlying areas to ensure country kids didn't miss out either.

"This is something that needs to be taught right through the year, not just part of the year,” he said.

"I'd love to see them teach for the bronze medallion.”

Topics:  andrew plint save our kids campaign water safety

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