My name is Louise Lambeth, I am a surf lifesaver at Ocean Beach on the NSW Central Coast of Australia.
My story as a children’s book author began after a terrible tragedy, where my club was involved in a search and rescue that all too soon became a search and recovery.
Seeing the emotional effect this tragedy had on the family, the community and my club members was the catalyst to have my first drowning prevention book published.
Here is where it all began….
Once upon a winters day a family went to the seaside. A mum, a dad, their children and their 5-year-old nephew. The sea was rough that day. The kids had a wonderful time, chasing the waves as they drew back into the sea and then running away as fast as they could as the waves surged back up the beach. It was so much fun.
When it was time to go, mum and dad called to the kids and turned to collect their bags …… but their 5-year-old nephew remained by the water’s edge.
Suddenly, a large surging wave roared onto the beach. The little boys’ legs could not outrun it! He was swept into the deep water so quickly that his family could not save him.
Tragedy only takes a second! …………………………………………………………………
On that winter’s day, Pearl Beach, July 2014, a little boy drowned.
This could easily have been my family; this could easily have been yours!
There are so many people who simply do not know the dangers of the ocean. Would you have known the dangers and what to do?
My first book, Annie and the Waves, contains the exact same risk components that occurred that day at Pearl Beach, a moments lapse in supervision, a small child alone by the waters edge, a surging wave. The difference in Annie’s story is that Annie and her family have learnt about safety at the beach. Annie knows exactly what to do when she meets the surging wave!
This story was written 2 years before this tragedy but I had no idea how to publish a book! Amongst the horror and sadness of this little boy lost I began to wonder ‘what if I’d published my book and that family had read it, potentially this drowning could have been prevented.’
I am proud to announce my second water safety book is now in print! Rohit at the River explores the importance of learning water safety skills and the dangers around inland waterways such as rivers, creeks and dams. This book has been created under the guidance of Royal Life Saving Society – Australia, AUSTSWIM and Life Saving Victoria.
Drowning is preventable yet it is the third largest cause of accidental death worldwide. The 2021 Royal Life Saving Drowning Report records that 298 people drowned across Australia. Additionally, 674 people experienced non-fatal drowning that can lead to lifelong medical complications. Approximately 42% of these were children aged 0-4!
Education has been identified as a major drowning prevention intervention. We need to explore all opportunities to educate children and their families on how to stay safe around water.
Each of my books is created in collaboration with a peak injury prevention organisation so that the reader can be assured that the content is accurate, current and trustworthy.
My books help to bring water safety education into the home, school or early learning centre. They help significant people in a child’s life to start conversations around risk and safety strategies.
By buying a book and reading it with a child you are helping to create important conversations about risk, safety strategies and what to do if you need help in the water!
Together we can help turn the tide on drowning!