Timely reminder to check pool safety barriers and gates

Families with spas and pools are being urged to check their barriers and gates in the lead-up to summer.

The Kidsafe campaign reminds parents now is the time to check on gates in a bid to reduce the number of toddler drowning deaths in backyard swimming pools.

In 2018/19, 19 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned, according to figures from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia’s National Drowning Report.

Most incidents (63%) occurred in swimming pools.

“Despite significant reductions in toddler drowning deaths over time, drowning continues to be one of the leading causes of accidental death for Australian children under 5 years of age,” Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria said.

While safety barriers can be effective in reducing the risk of backyard pool drowning incidents, evidence suggests that a large number of drowning deaths are the result of barriers that are faulty, or non-compliant with Australian standards.

“Common faults or non-compliance issues include gates and doors that are no longer self-closing or latching, gates that are propped open and climbable objects near the barrier – all of which can provide children with unsupervised access to the water area”, Mr Chambers said.

Kidsafe campaign ambassador, Matt Welsh, himself a father of 5 young children, said it was critical.

“There is no better use of 15-20 minutes of your time than setting your defence for the warm summer months ahead and checking the safety of your pool barrier.

“By doing so, you could save a child’s life.

“Children drown quickly and silently. Together with a compliant pool barrier that is regularly checked and maintained, your home pool defence should also include active adult supervision of children in and around water, water awareness and first aid knowledge to keep your family safe this season.”