Swimming pools may be the leading source of fun in many Australian households over summer, but they are also the leading cause of drowning. 965 children under the age of five have died from drowning in Australia over the past 25 years with 52% of all drowning deaths between 1st July 2002 – 30th June 2018 occurring in a swimming pool. So how can you make sure yours is safe?
This post is in collaboration with the Royal Life Saving Society
Secure your pool fence and gate
Never prop open the gate to your pool, not even for a moment. Yes, it can be annoying when you have to keep opening and closing it, but the risk of a child slipping in when you aren’t looking is way too high. Also, make sure your pool fence is compliant. Contact your council for more information.
Keep your children within reach when swimming
Young children who are learning to swim need to be within reach of a parent or adult supervisor. This is especially important for children under five and those who are non-swimmers or weak swimmers. Drowning is often quick and silent and kids can drown in just 20 seconds. Within two minutes they will be unconscious, and they can have irreversible brain damage in four minutes. So be close by at all times.
Make your pool area a mobile phone free space
This is a rule I live by. I never take my phone into the pool area and I don’t answer it when my child is in the pool. She is big enough to swim in the pool without me but I’m always at the edge just in case. Not getting distracted is vital when supervising kids in the pool. A lapse in adult supervision was the major risk factor in 100% of toddler drowning deaths, so don’t risk it.
Teach children not to go near the water without an adult present
Falls into water accounted for 77% of all drowning deaths of children under the age of five between 1 July 2002 – 30 June 2018. Children don’t fully understand the dangers of water. It’s important to teach them that an adult must always be with them near the pool.
No swimming under pool toys
When there a lot of kids and a lot of pool toys in the pool it can be hard to keep track of everyone. So, we have a rule of no swimming under the pool toys. I also don’t let any giant pool toys like the big flamingos or doughnuts in the pool when we have lots of kids over as it’s so hard to keep track of all the kids when there are big things in the pool. When there are multiple adults around make sure you have a designated supervisor so someone is always actively supervising the children.
These are the ways I keep my kids safe in the pool. For more information on how to best keep your kids safe, visit keepwatch.com.au or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #KeepWatch.
Do you have any other ways you practice water safety around your pool?