New campaign urges parents to stay off their phones around water

Kristie Jones with daughter Violet Jones (1). Royal Life Saving is launching their summer safety campaign at Beatty Park. The campaign is geared around 'watch around water', urging parents to get off their phones while the kids are in the water. Photo: Andrew Ritchie
Kristie Jones with daughter Violet Jones (1). Royal Life Saving is launching their summer safety campaign at Beatty Park. The campaign is geared around 'watch around water', urging parents to get off their phones while the kids are in the water. Photo: Andrew Ritchie

ROYAL Life Saving Society WA has launched its summer safety campaign for swimming pools, urging parents to put down their phones when their children are in the water.

‘Watch Around Water’ is a campaign that has been running for more than a decade, highlighting the dangers of being distracted when supervising children around the water.

This year the focus is on getting off phones in order to keep an eye on the kids.

“More education is needed to ensure that parents are aware of their supervision responsibilities while visiting these facilities with young children,” Royal Life Saving’s Lauren Nimmo said.

MORE: Mullaloo drowning stirs traumatic memories for Carramar mother

“Even though lifeguards are on duty, parents still have a crucial role to play in keeping children safe.”

Jeff Fondacaro, president of the Leisure Institute of WA Aquatics, said mobile phone use by parents was a disturbing trend around the water.

“The Watch Around Water program has been critical to ensuring that our public swimming pools remain safe for the community.

“While we have seen a steady improvement in the level of parental supervision at our facilities, we are also seeing a disturbing trend in the number of parents distracted by their mobile phones.

“We need to change this behaviour quickly to ensure that our pools remain safe for the community.”

The most common factor contributing to childhood drowning is a lapse in adult supervision.

“It doesn’t take long for tragedy to occur,” Ms Nimmo said.

“It only takes seconds for a child to drown, and any distraction, even if only for a moment to check your mobile phone places them at risk.

“It is our hope that this new campaign will alert caregivers to the possible distractions, the risks for injury and the potential consequences of a monetary lapse in supervision.”