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Inflatable pools are an Aussie family summer tradition but the days of the slip-n-slide and inflatable pools could be over.

A safety group is currently pushing for legislation to look into the danger of inflatable pools, claiming that they are more dangerous than permanent pools due to the lack of safety fencing. In 2015, a report released by the Royal Life Saving Society showed a 50% increase in deaths of children under the age of five in waterways, pools and bathtubs in Australia in just one year.

The report cited a lack of adult supervision as the number one issue in these drownings.

Current Legislation (VIC, NSW, QLD, WA)

The Current legislation requires all swimming pools and spas on residential properties, with a depth greater than 30cm (300mm) to be surrounded by a safety barrier (e.g. a pool fence), and there are fines of up to $50,000 for those left unfenced. Unfortunately, the number of households without pool barriers has climbed to a staggering 42%.

Other states like South Australia and Tasmania stipulate that a temporary or above-ground pool’s walls may act as the fence, provided they are higher than 1.2m and there is no way a child can climb into the pool.

Current Issues

Supervision

Active adult supervision is essential in protecting your child from drowning. In all cases of drowning in children under five, supervision was either intermittent or lacking altogether. Active supervision means that a child is being constantly watched by an adult who is within arms reach at all times.

All of your attention should be on the child and you should never leave a child alone, or in the care of an older child, when they are in, on, or around the water.

Lack of barriers

Having a fence between your child and the pool is essential in protecting your child from drowning. Children, like most of us, love getting into the pool but they may not be aware of or understand the dangers of unsupervised pool time. A barrier will only allow children into the pool when there is a supervising adult around at all times.

In all cases of drowning in children under five, supervision was either intermittent or lacking altogether – so the proposed inflatable pool ban was developed in order to protect children that are currently not getting the supervision required.

How to fix the issue

Due to the lack of supervision, the damage has been done and the proposed ban could be placed into action by the time 2016-17 summer comes around, but here are some steps you should be taking to keep your kids as safe as possible, in and around your swimming pool:

  1.        Fencing

Even during pool construction, it is vital to use barriers for the safety of your children.

  1.        Supervise, supervise and supervise!

Watch your children at all times when they are using the pool, drowning can happen very quickly and very quietly. The best way to be alert is to swim with them, we are tempted to sit by the pool and read a magazine or a book, but drowning can happen in a matter of seconds.

  1.        Swimming lessons

Enrolling your children for swimming lessons are vital to teaching them safety in and around the pool, these lessons teach essential survival techniques and will ensure that in an emergency your child will be confident enough to swim to safety or float. Check with the instructors if the school offers training in how to swim safely when you are completely clothed.

  1.        Life jackets

For children who are too young or still in the process of learning how to swim, a life jacket is essential for survival. Take the time to check your local legislation regarding any floatation devices, because you may find some are not appropriate for young children.

  1.        Learn CPR and lifesaving skills

As a parent you have a responsibility of care towards your child, doing a 1-day CPR course make the difference between life and death. See a list of CPR courses around Australia here. They cost about $50 and are a lifelong skill that you will use at least once in the workplace or in public and hopefully not at home.

These are just some suggestions to take to keep your children safe in the water this coming summer.

Have you enrolled your kids in swimming lessons? It’s never too early to learn!

Image source Shutterstock.

  • Kids need to always be supervised when around even the smallest bit if water

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  • Children who are very good climbers can climb into an a high sided pool. I have seen it done.


    • Which is why they tell you to supervise…..ALWAYS. There is no better protection then parental supervision

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  • Children should always be supervised around water.

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  • This is a great idea to keep young children safe around swimming pools. Saying that, what about buckets that have water in for your animals. You can’t put a fence around that. I agree that the best way to keep children safe is to always stay with them and watch at all times.

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  • I agree that any child drowning is avoidable and tragic. We don’t have young children at our house, ever. We sometimes erect a Clark Rubber above ground pool on a concreted area. I imagine this requires fencing too, but I’m not sure how that is physically possible on concrete. Our son is a teenager and we don’t have any friends or family with young children. What does that mean for us?

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  • Children need constant supervision when near and in the water. Any death related to pools is so terribly sad.

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  • Must agree about supervision – and that doesn’t mean being close to the pool and on the iPhone. Parents must actively watch their children at all times and be ready with CPR if needed. Mine started swimming lessons from 8 months old winter an summer and they love all water based activities and so do my grandchildren.


    • I agree – total focus as it only takes seconds for something to occur in the water.

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  • Swim teachers have told me that many parents withdraw their children from swimming lessons in Winter because it is cold. Swimming is an life skill that needs to be constant in young lives or they can lose their skills so easily.

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  • I agree that inflatable pools can be dangerous, but so can be the bath and a bucket indeed ! Continuous supervision, life jackets, fencing, swimming lessons it’s all important.

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  • constantly supervise! buckets can be unsafe too

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  • I agree that all little ones should wear a life jacket. For babies there is a special device you can put on their backs. The adjustable elastic goes across their shoulders attached to the device.
    Bear in mind these devices may stop them from drowning, but they could still swallow or breathe in water. This can cause what is known as secondary drowning which may not be obvious for a few hours. It can be fatal so it is best for the child’s lungs to be checked by a Dr. or qualified Nurse

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  • We have made it as hard as possible for our kids to get near the pool without us.

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  • My 3 year old has been having lessons since she was 8 months old. I always supervise. She is never in water unsupervised

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  • Important advice !

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  • This is such obvious, basic information yet people obviously aren’t abiding by it because there are so many kids dying in water related accidents. If you can’t be there watching your kids, then empty the water out til next time

    Reply

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