Samuel Morris Foundation

Supporting children disabled by near drowning or other hypoxic brain injuries

Preventing drowning death and disability through education and awareness

Why drowning prevention and awareness needs to be a national priority.
In Australia and other developed nations drowning is one of the three leading causes of accidental death in 0-4 year olds. In some jurisdictions drowning is in fact the leading cause of injury related death in this age group. Sadly the death toll from drowning is only part of the picture……….

Every year hundreds of Australian children aged 0-4 are admitted to hospital following a near drowning. Tragically an average of 31 children in this age group will lose their lives and almost one quarter (22.5%) of those admitted to hospital following a non-fatal drowning will suffer a  hypoxic brain injury due to lack of oxygen that will result in disabilities for life.  Many of the children who survive will need a wide range of equipment, support and services and the Samuel Morris Foundation is here to help provide them.

The Samuel Morris Foundation, established in March 2007, is Australia’s only charity supporting children disabled by near drowning (or other hypoxic brain injuries) and preventing future drowning deaths and disabilities through drowning prevention education and awareness.

to help us in our vital work

Preventing Children Drowning

There is no magic solution to drowning prevention and no one thing in isolation will prevent a child drowning, however there are four key drowning prevention and awareness factors that are proven to reduce the risk of childhood drowning. They are:

  • Supervision of children (proximity, attention, continuity)
  • Correctly installed and maintained pool fences (or fenced safe play areas on farms) to prevent children gaining access to the water
  • Water familiarisation / learn to swim
  • Emergency Plans – Knowing CPR


The Samuel Morris Foundation is a proud winner of the “Patrons Award for the most significant contribution to water safety with a focus on an under-represented group” at 2008 NSW Water Safety Awards

Brooke Hanson - Olympic Gold and Silver Medallist

Brooke Hanson – Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist

Samuel Morris Foundation Patron

“Probably the greatest irony in me becoming an Olympic swimmer is that I could have drowned before I was two years old. Twice I was plucked from the bottom of the pool by my father and it’s unfortunate to know that thirty years on childhood drownings are as high as ever. Despite all the warnings child drowning continues to be a tragic part of Australian society. I am honoured to be a part of the Samuel Morris Foundation as I was one of the lucky survivors, many children are not as fortunate. It is reassuring to know that the foundation is supporting children disabled by near drowning and is continuing to promote drowning prevention and awareness to reduce future deaths and disability from drowning.

Join me in supporting the Samuel Morris Foundation by making a donation.