With warm weather forecast for this weekend and many families planning trips for the end of the school holidays, Kidsafe Victoria has urged parents and carers to remain vigilant around all bodies of water, in a bid to reduce the number of toddler drowning deaths.
The call comes as statistics show that Victoria recorded a shocking increase in drowning deaths between July 1 – December 28 2020, including 12 drownings in children under 15 years of age – the highest number of drowning fatalities seen in this age group in two decades.
Tragically, last week a further 4 people drowned in Victoria, including a toddler.
Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, highlighted the importance of active adult supervision of children in and around water, to help prevent these tragic incidents from occurring.
“Children drown quickly and silently, which is why it is vital that they are actively supervised by an adult at all times when in or around all bodies of water. For toddlers, this means having an adult within arm’s reach.”
While it can often seem that there is extra supervision at backyard BBQ’s, pool parties, picnics and other gatherings with lots of adults around, Kidsafe Victoria warns that this isn’t always the case.
“In these settings, it can often be easy to think that someone else is actively supervising the kids when in fact, nobody is” said Mr Chambers.
“To help ensure children are actively supervised at all times, particularly when they are in and around water, it’s important to have designated supervisors whose role it is to watch the kids – this role can be shared throughout the day to ensure everyone has a chance to relax.”
Together with active adult supervision, Kidsafe Victoria recommends that families ensure they have a compliant pool barrier that is regularly checked and maintained, water awareness and first aid knowledge, to help keep everyone safe this summer.
Kidsafe Victoria’s summer water safety tips:
- Children need to be actively supervised by an adult in and around water at all times. For toddlers, this means having an adult within arms’ reach.
- Appoint designated supervisors at BBQ’s, pool parties and other gatherings, whose role it is to supervise the kids in and around the pool. This role can be shared throughout the day so that everyone gets a chance to take a break.
- Ensure that your pool barrier is secure and in proper working order.
- Never prop the pool gate open, this allows children easy and often unsupervised access to the pool area.
- Learn CPR and update your skills regularly. Resuscitation signs are a good reminder to be kept near pools.
- Toddlers can drown in as little as a few centimetres of water, so be mindful of other potential outdoor water hazards including eskys with melted ice, wading/inflatable pools, pet water bowls and ponds
Common non-compliance issues with pool barriers:
- Gates and doors that don’t self-latch or self-close
- Climbable objects near the barrier e.g. pot plants, chairs, BBQ’s or pool pumps which could allow a child to climb over the barrier
- Excess space under the barrier, and;
- Misuse e.g. propping the pool gate open
For more information on Kidsafe’s ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign and to download a comprehensive pool safety checklist, please visit https://www.kidsafevic.com.au/water-safety/pool-fence-safety/