Cheap and deadly

The Sunday Times - - OPINION -

WE want to get through this sum­mer with­out hav­ing to re­port on any chil­dren drown­ing in back­yard swim­ming pools. There are sev­eral things par­ents can do to guard against th­ese need­less tragedies. Top of the list should be avoid­ing portable pools, un­less they are fenced off.

The State Govern­ment would like to ban th­ese “death traps”, such is its level of con­cern. But it can’t with­out the agree­ment of other States.

In­stead, all it can do is warn fam­i­lies and im­plore retailers not to sell them. You might think this smacks of Nanny State alarmism.

But fam­i­lies deeply scarred by tragedy or near-tragedy from th­ese pools would dis­agree. A quar­ter of all WA child drown­ings in pri­vate pools be­tween 2009 and 2015 hap­pened in one of th­ese portable struc­tures.

Un­der WA law, a bar­rier has to be erected around pools deeper than 30cm and a build­ing per­mit is needed for a portable pool or spa that is set up for more than a month.

Some of th­ese struc­tures come with their own fil­tra­tion sys­tems al­low­ing them to re­main set up over sum­mer. With­out fences they are dis­as­ters wait­ing to hap­pen.

One of the sell­ers of th­ese pools, Bun­nings, says it strongly en­cour­ages cus­tomers to con­sider their rel­e­vant pool fenc­ing laws.

But as Com­merce Min­is­ter Bill John­ston points out: “No­body is go­ing to buy a $500 pool if they also need to build a $2000 fence.”

Th­ese waist-high portable pools ap­peal to fam­i­lies who can’t af­ford to splash out $20,000-plus on a con­ven­tional pool.

“I’ve writ­ten to every re­tailer we can work out (who) sells portable pools and en­cour­age them to no longer do it . . . many of them ac­knowl­edge the point I’m mak­ing, but don’t agree,” he said.

Mr John­ston said his ad­vice to fam­i­lies con­tem­plat­ing buy­ing such pools was: “If you can’t af­ford a fence, don’t go down that path. The risk is too great and the loss that you will per­son­ally suf­fer is too dra­matic.”

Chil­dren can drown in sec­onds, even when adults are around. Vig­i­lance and con­stant su­per­vi­sion is a must when lit­tle ones are near any body of wa­ter. When there are no adults around, the only thing en­sur­ing our kids’ safety is a child­proof phys­i­cal bar­rier. With­out one, it’s just not worth the risk.

Pay ho­mage with pride

Last week we stressed why it is so im­por­tant — in­deed our solemn duty — to pay ho­mage to our fore­bears who died in the ser­vice of their coun­try. To­day has spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance be­cause we are mark­ing the centenary of the end of World War I; a con­flict burned into the soul of this coun­try.

The Ar­mistice of Com­piègne was signed at 11am (Paris time) on this day in 1918. In Perth, we will stop what we’re do­ing at 11am to con­tem­plate the enor­mous scale of death and suf­fer­ing from this war and sub­se­quent wars.

With prayers and through tears, we will also hon­our fam­ily mem­bers who served. We shall wear our pop­pies with pride be­cause the bonds of love and loy­alty to our fallen kin and coun­try­men can’t be bro­ken, now or ever.

Re­spon­si­bil­ity for ed­i­to­rial comment is taken by the edi­tor, Michael Beach, 50 Hasler Road, Os­borne Park, WA 6017. Postal ad­dress: PO Box 1769, Os­borne Park DC, WA 6916.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.