Letters

Child safety by the pool

Ed,

I write to highlight that drowning remains one of the leading causes of accidental death of children aged 0 to 4 years old.

Although there has been a significant reduction in the rate of drowning amongst toddlers, at Royal Life Saving we will not stop campaigning until the number of deaths is zero.

Our latest research sadly reveals 965 children aged 0 to 4 years drowned in Australia between 1st July 1993 and 30th June 2018. 

A lapse in adult supervision was the major risk factor in 100% of toddler drowning deaths.

Active supervision is the best protection against child drowning. With the warmer weather approaching, many families and children will be spending time around the pool and other waterways to cool off.  Please actively supervise children at all times when they are around water. Stay close and within arm’s reach.

Swimming pools are the leading location for drowning amongst children aged 0 to 4 years. They account for 52% of all deaths.

Faulty latches and hinges or propped open gates are the primary risk factors in home pool drowning deaths of young children. 

We urge people to regularly check their pool fence and gate to ensure they are in full working order, and we want to remind you to never prop the pool gate open. 

It can take just a few moments for a child to slip away unnoticed, fall into the water and drown. Drowning is often quick and silent. This is why it is critical people Keep Watch at all times.

Distractions like browsing social media on your phone, attending to another child or going inside to grab something can have tragic consequences if a toddler is left unattended by water.

Preventing drowning requires multiple layers of protection; you must actively supervise children around water, restrict access, teach water awareness and learn resuscitation. 

Please visit www.keepwatch.com.au for more information and resources.

We can all play a role in preventing tragedies.

Justin Scarr,
CEO – Royal Life Saving Society – Australia

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