Take action to cut risk of drowning
The Royal Life Saving Society’s latest annual National Drowning Report has found swimming pool drowning deaths have increased in WA.
Consumer Protection is joining the campaign to highlight strong pool safety messages that need to be heard by the community this summer.
Tragically, children under five account for the largest number of swimming pool drowning deaths in Australia. Fourteen children from that age drowned in swimming pools in 2013-14.
Adults need to constantly supervise young children in, and around, water. Don’t get distracted.
Even checking your mobile phone or hanging washing on the line can leave enough time for a tragedy to occur.
At family gatherings, nominate an adult to supervise the children. That adult needs to accept responsibility to remain vigilant, sober and ideally be trained in first-aid.
Any pool with water deeper than 30cm, or the length of an average ruler, must be fenced and have a self-closing, self-latching gate.
Details about WA pool fencing laws can be found on the Building Commission’s website, at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/ building-commission/ swimmingpools.
All too often we hear of gates that have been propped open or objects that can be climbed on left near the fence — this needs to stop.
It is also important for home owners or occupiers to regularly check that pool fences, gates and posts have not been compromised by sun exposure over time.
Portable pools with a water depth less than 30cm pose a serious drowning risk even though they do not need to be fenced off.
A small child can drown in as little as 5cm of water within two minutes in total silence.
Be absolutely sure to completely empty portable pools after use and store them away securely.
Leaving them out where they can fill up with rain or sprinkler water could prove to be a fatal mistake. Last year a national standard was introduced requiring mandatory warnings to be included with all portable pools sold in Australia.
Flotation devices should not be seen as a replacement for adult supervision. Armbands, rubber rings or floating mattresses are made of materials that can perish in the sun or be burst by a sharp object, meaning they can deflate unexpectedly.