Child care water safety laws tightened Carramar toddler drowning

Lachlan drowned while at daycare in November. Picture: Lachlan’s Law Facebook page
Lachlan drowned while at daycare in November. Picture: Lachlan’s Law Facebook page

THE drowning of a two-year-old boy in a pool at a Carramar residential day care in Perth’s north last year has already led to tighter regulations around water safety, as his parents had hoped.

The local couple have advocated strongly for improved water safety following their son Lachlan’s death.

Day care service providers now face a $50,000 fine if they do not ensure children are being stringently supervised around bodies of water under a new condition imposed by the Department of Local Government and Communities.

The fine applies to daycare service providers, not to the carers who work under them.

Day care service providers are responsible for ensuring the educators they employ are providing a safe environment for children.

The condition is part of what is termed a service approval, to which service providers must adhere under the Education and Care Services National Law (WA) Act 2012.

The condition compels service providers to ensure “where there is a swimming pool, spa or other water feature at the residence of an educator who is registered with the service, the educator must be directly supervising and physically in proximity to any child in their care who is near the swimming pool, spa or other water feature”.

In other words, service providers must ensure their educators are always standing close to children near bodies of water or risk a $50,000 fine.

While previously there was a condition stating service providers must ensure the “safety, health and wellbeing” of children, there was no specific condition relating to supervision around water.

A department spokeswoman said the condition had been introduced to make the requirement “explicit to family day care services and their educators”.

She said if the department became aware an educator had deliberately ignored the provider’s instruction, the department had the power to order the provider to suspend the educator.

In the Carramar case, the service provider was Communicare.

In other matters, she said the department was calling a “round table of family day care services and educators to discuss safety issues” this year.The department investigation into the drowning is still ongoing.

To follow Lachlan’s parents’ push for improved water safety regulations at day cares visit the Lachlan’s Law Facebook page.