Keep watch this summer

Mayor Keane and David McAllister
Mayor Keane and David McAllister

A compliant, secure and properly maintained swimming pool and fence are essential measures to ensure the safety of young children around backyard swimming pools.

With Royal Life Saving Australia’s latest drowning statistics showing that 52 per cent of drowning deaths in swimming pools were children aged under five, Mayor of The Hills Shire, Councillor Yvonne Keane is urging homeowners and tenants to educate themselves of the importance of having a secure safety fence and gate on pools.

“Since Christmas Day, five children under five have drowned in NSW, four in backyard pools and one in a fish pond,” Mayor Keane said.

“Research on child drownings in backyard swimming pools indicates that the most common contributing factors are inadequately fenced pools and human error. For example, people leaving the gate open or fences not being maintained to a good condition.

“People choosing to have a swimming pool or spa pool have a responsibility to ensure that their pool is registered on the NSW Swimming Pool Register, has safety barriers and gates installed, and is operated and maintained to the Australian Standard referred to in the Swimming Pools Regulation.

“It is so important that parents and others responsible for supervising children in and around swimming pools know how to administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). The Royal Life Saving Society and the Red Cross are just some of the organisations that conduct accredited CPR courses. Families should discuss what to do in the event that CPR is required so that they can respond quickly and help to save lives,” Mayor Keane added.

David Macallister, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Life Saving NSW, said that in addition to ensuring pool safety fences comply with Australian Standards, it is vital that anyone living with a swimming pool or a spa maintains supervision of children around the water at all times.

“It is important to remember that while fencing may assist in reducing drownings in backyard pools, the most effective way to prevent drownings is for children to be adequately supervised by a parent or other responsible adult,” Mr Macallister said.

“Answering the door, preparing food, changing a sibling’s nappy, and answering a call are all distractions that leave children vulnerable to drowning, making active supervision critical. Be prepared, be close and give all of your attention, all of the time.

“Most importantly, never ever leave children unsupervised around the pool. If you are required to leave the pool area take your children with you and don’t leave children in the care of older siblings,” Mr Macallister added.

For more information on pool safety, visit The Hills Shire Council website, www.thehills.nsw.gov.au, and search for the term “pool” or alternatively you can visit the Royal Life Saving website, www.royallifesaving.com.au.