Warning over child drownings in portable pools: Royal Life Saving Society

Bianca Daly tests out Bilgoman Aquatic Centre, as lifeguard Tyler Parish looks on, ahead of the opening on Saturday 24 October.
Bianca Daly tests out Bilgoman Aquatic Centre, as lifeguard Tyler Parish looks on, ahead of the opening on Saturday 24 October.

ROYAL Life Saving Society Australia has put the spotlight on portable pool safety as the mercury rises early this year.

Child fatalities happen in portable pools every year despite safety reminder campaigns.

New research by Royal Life Saving shows an alarming 30 per cent increase in deaths caused by drowning in children aged under five in Australia.

There were 26 child drownings for the age group in 2014-15, compared to 20 the previous year.

Over half of the deaths happened in pools. Drowning prevention advocateCEO chief executive Justin Scarr said paddling pools, wading pools and inflatable pools were popular with young children.

“What’s extremely concerning is that most people may not be aware of the legal requirement in most States and Territories to fence a pool deeper than 300mm (including portable pools),” Mr Scarr said.

The Kidsafe ‘Closing the Gate on Backyard Pool Drowning’ campaign calls on owners to check the safety of pool and spa barriers this weekend.

STAYING SAFE IN THE WATER

The portable pool safety campaign calls on people to be aware of five safety steps:

1. Check fencing requirements with local council regarding fencing requirements.

2. Ensure children are actively supervised within arms’ reach whenever in or around the pool.

3. Never rely on older children to supervise younger children irrespective of their ability to supervise.

4. For smaller pools, empty and put away when not in use.

5. Store portable pools where young children cannot find them.

6. Ensure emptied pools left outdoors cannot fill with rainwater or water from sprinklers.

RESIDENTS READY TO MAKE SPLASH AS WEATHER WARMS

OUTDOOR swimming pools will provide a refreshing break on a hot spring day when they open their doors later this month.

Bilgoman Aquatic Centre in Darlington is open from Saturday, October 24, with Mt Helena Aquatic Centre ready for swimmers on Monday, October 26.

Shire of Mundaring President Helen Dullard said the hot start to spring meant many people were planning how to keep cool this season.

“Residents may have spotted the infamous diving girl now up on the board at Bilgoman, which generally signals the start of the pool season,” she said.

“With refurbishments completed in 2014, we’ve had great feedback on the larger, shaded toddler pool and access ramp into the main pool.”

Cr Dullard said while the Shire’s aquatic centres were a great place to relax and have fun, safety was a top priority.

“Parents must constantly know where their children, with a guardian to be in the water with children under five years at all times,” she said.

“Despite lifeguards being on duty at both pools, child safety is a shared responsibility with parents.”

Swim School enrolments at Bilgoman will take place on Saturday, October 17.