Swimming Pool Safety
Mar 7, 2023

Home pools are becoming more common every day. It is estimated now that more than 1 in 5 Australian homes have a swimming pool, and with Australia’s hot weather, the water is the place to be! But beware: this great Aussie Icon can be dangerous!

The Royal Life Saving Society of Australia (RLSSA) National Drowning Report for 2014 showed an alarming 266 deaths were caused by drowning, including 20 children in the age group of 0–4 years old. 70% of these children drowned in backyard swimming pools. We need to realise that supervision CAN, and DOES FAIL.

With summer well upon us, parents need to be reminded not to be complacent about SUPERVISION as the primary layer of protection in the prevention of drowning. Vigilance is required, no matter how confident a young swimmer may be. Children are drowning in backyard pools that are familiar to them (i.e. family/relatives/neighbours/public pools).

To make things worse, incidents have occurred when one or both parents were responsible for supervision. They are only examples of what happens when supervision fails.

So what constitutes supervision, and what is the best way to ensure everybody enjoys swimming? Supervision has several components, including:

  • 100% undivided attention; supervision is not an activity that can be done whilst doing something else! i.e. chores or socialising
  • A preparedness to get wet! The 0-5 year age bracket requires you to keep watch at a close distance (i.e. within arm’s length). So get in with them!
  • Ignoring distractions; never allow phones, doorbells, socialising or other siblings/children to let your attention waiver
  • Never leave a child/sibling in charge of supervising; Children are not suitable replacements for Adults – they are easily distracted and do not have the appropriate skills to deal with the situation
  • When at BBQs and social events, delegate a “Supervisor” role to several available adults. Ensure they are aware of their duties and responsibilities and communicate effectively (i.e. if they are unable to continue or need to break)
  • Remember, of all the backyard pool drownings, 85% were a result of children falling in while playing around the pool area. This means that supervision extends not only to periods of swimming but also to children that are out of the water too.

Never underestimate the importance of supervision. After all, being in and around water and participating in all forms of aquatic activities is our Aussie culture and something that the whole family should be able to enjoy!

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