Popularity of public swimming pools increasing. Parents urge: watch children

Senior lifeguard Wendy Cole, LIWA president Jeff Fondacaro, Walter the Watchdog, Mayor Marina Vergone and senior lifeguard Debbie Webb.
Senior lifeguard Wendy Cole, LIWA president Jeff Fondacaro, Walter the Watchdog, Mayor Marina Vergone and senior lifeguard Debbie Webb.

A NEW report by the Leisure Institute of WA Aquatics and the Royal Life Saving Society WA has shown the popularity of public swimming pools is increasing.

There were more than 10.4 million visits recorded over the past year, with most of these being young children.

Children also consistently record the highest rate of injury at public swimming pools than any other age group, so programs targeting safe supervision are essential.

The Watch Around Water program has been in place in WA since 2004 and encourages parents of young children to take a proactive supervision role.

The Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre has been a part of the Watch Around Water program since its inception.

Mandurah Mayor Marina Vergone said that with the recent opening of the new aquatic facilities, the Watch Around Water program was an important and timely reminder for parents and carers of young children to keep watch and be alert while around water.

“Our new pools have brought such a positive impact to the community we want everyone to enjoy them in a safe way,’’ she said.

Long-serving MARC pool lifeguard Debbie Webb said it was a concern how often parents dropped off young children at the pool or left them unsupervised in the water.

“Lifeguards are not babysitters,’’ she said.

“We need parents to realise they can’t check their responsibilities at the door.

“Even though lifeguards are on duty, parents still have a crucial safety role to play to keep children safe.’’

Children under five must be supervised within arm’s reach at all times and children under 10 must be accompanied into the centre by a responsible adult and supervised within line of sight.