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Tiny tots are half of all child drownings

Almost half of all child drownings in Australia are one-year-old toddlers.

The new statistics are being released as a warning to parents and carers that no task which distracts them is worth their child's life.

The Royal Life Saving Society data, unveiled Thursday, reveals that 41 per cent of all drowning deaths in children under five in Australia are one-year-olds.

The comprehensive research analysed drownings across Australia during the past 18 years, and shows that 507 children aged up to four drowned.

Of these, 207 were aged one and below.

The figures show that the risk of drowning triples when a child starts to crawl and peaks soon after the child's first birthday.

As temperatures soar across the country, the Royal Life Saving Society is using the statistics to kick off its Keep Watch Campaign.

The majority of drownings in children up to four years of age were in backyard swimming pools and resulted from accidental falls into the water when there was no active adult supervision.

Life Saving Society CEO Justin Scarr said the danger period is when small children become mobile.

"At this age, they are curious and unpredictable," Mr Scarr said.

"It is vital you keep constant watch. We are reminding parents that 'kids can't help themselves, so you have to'."

Drowning deaths in young children are wholly preventable, he noted.

"Children who survive a downing incident often experience lifelong health issues, which in some cases, may lead to premature death," Mr Scarr said.

"The emotional toll this has on children, their parents and carers is terribly sad."

Active adult supervision around water prevents child drownings, and any distraction - phone or social media use or carrying out everyday tasks like cooking or taking out the rubbish - is dangerous.

"No task is worth your child's life. We ask parents and carers to always keep watch."

Mr Scarr said while drowning incidents involving children under five have fallen by 74 per cent since 2002, it continues to be one of the leading causes of accidental death in this age group.

The Keep Watch campaign, which has been running for more than 25 years, recommends that parents and carers supervise their children around water, teach children water safety skills and learn how to respond to emergencies.

© AAP 2020

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