MAKE YOUR POOL A SAFE ONE NO ROOM FOR SLACK ATTITUDES
SWIMMING pools are supposed to be fun, but drowning is still a leading cause of death for NSW children under 5.
The NSW government’s water safety initiative watersafety. nsw.gov.au says that each year, on average, 10 children under 5 drown in backyard swimming pools and many more suffer brain damage and other injuries associated with near-drowning events.
A recent survey by pool-care company PoolWerx shows that despite having one of the world’s highest per capita rates of pool ownership, owners are still failing to pay attention to pool safety and legislation.
John O’Brien of Poolwerx says pool owners seem to have a lax attitude towards safety and many seem to be unaware of state legislation.
“Being a pool owner comes with a lot of responsibility that people need to take seriously,” he says.
“Children especially are drawn to water like magnets, so it’s important people have a full understanding of the safety requirements because the consequences can be life threatening.’’
The PoolWerx research showed that 44 per cent of pool owners didn’t have an up-to-date CPR chart displayed within their pool area despite it being a government requirement.
The research also showed that a staggering two-thirds of pool owners do not know how to resuscitate a family member.
PoolWerx has partnered with former Australian swimming coach Laurie Lawrence and Kids Alive to drive home the safety message.
Chris Fitzmaurice of Swimart says a healthy attitude is needed.
“By the age of five, children should at least know how to float and do basic dog paddle to be able to get themselves out if they happen to fall in,” Fitzmaurice says.
He says even if children are competent in the water, adult supervision is crucial.
Royal Life Saving Society Australia has a free Home Pool Safety app and says people need to be vigilant, especially around blow-up pools.
As part of its Keep Watch campaign, aimed at preventing drowning deaths of children under 5, it is encouraging pool owners to do four things: make sure they know CPR, fence their pools, familiarise children with water and always have active supervision.
Pool safety ... a proper pool fence can prevent drowning.