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Australia Day Party Toddler Drowning Alert Parents Urged to Check Pool Barriers and Gates

67% of toddler drowning incidents in 2017/2018 occurred in swimming pools

Kidsafe Victoria today said with thousands of traditional BBQ's and pool parties held across the Australia Day long weekend it is vital all pool owners check their Pool Barriers and Gates are in good working condition and ensure the pool or spa is supervised by an adult when in use.  

Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria said, "Research has shown that adult supervision is the first line of defence in reducing toddler drowning incidents, with pool and spa barriers and gates providing crucial support."

"Children drown quickly and silently, which is why it's important that they are actively supervised in and around water - for toddlers, this means having an adult within arm's reach at all times.”

"When there are lots of adults around at a backyard BBQ or pool party, it can often seem like there is extra supervision for children. However, quite often in these situations everyone assumes that someone else is actively supervising the kids when in fact, nobody is," Mr Chambers said.

 

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The warning comes as recent figures from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia's National Drowning Report show that in 2017/18, 18 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned. The majority of these incidents (67%) occurred in swimming pools.

CEO of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria, Chris Samartzis, highlighted the importance of pool and spa owners conducting regular checks of their barriers, saying "Pool and spa barriers are exposed to the extremes of weather all year round which can lead to rust, loose or missing bolts or screws and wear and tear over time. It's critical that pool and spa owners regularly check and maintain their barriers to ensure they are safe and fully compliant."

Kidsafe Victoria’s ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign is proudly supported by SPASA Victoria, Safetech Hardware Australia, Protector Aluminium and the Victorian Pool Check Compliance Agency. For further information on the campaign and to access resources including the Victorian Building Authority's pool barrier checklists, please visit  www.kidsafevic.com.au 

Kidsafe Victoria's summer pool 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 and pool parties 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 enjoy the festivities.
  • 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 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, pool pumps near the pool barrier which could allow a child to climb over the fence
  • Excess space under the barrier, and;
  • Misuse (e.g. propping the pool gate open)

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council Launches Kids In Cars Summer Safety Program

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The Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, in conjunction with Kidsafe Victoria, will today launch its Kids in Cars community awareness campaign ahead of the influx of an estimated 140,000 visitors to the popular summer destination, for the Christmas holidays.

Between 1st September 2017 and 31st August 2018, Ambulance Victoria responded to 1587 callouts for people locked in cars across Victoria, with the vast majority being cases involving toddlers and babies.

The Mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Cr. David Gill, said that the introduction of the campaign is timely with the start of the summer holiday period.

“The temperature inside a parked car can be 20 to 30 degrees hotter than outside. On a typical summer day, the temperature inside a car could be well over 60 degrees - leaving the windows down has little effect on the temperature rise.” 

Cr. Gill said the first stage of the campaign will see Kidsafe Victoria’s ‘Do Not Leave Children in Cars’ signs placed on the front doors of all Preschools and Early Childhood Centres, Council Offices, Libraries and Maternal Health Care Nurse facilities in the municipality.

“The campaign will mean thousands of parents and carers will be constantly reminded about the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles and will also stimulate important discussion among the public about this life-threatening issue.

“The signage will also be extended to the entry of other car parks across the municipality.”

Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, highlighted the dangers of leaving children in cars and commended the actions of Mornington Peninsula Shire Council in raising awareness of the issue.

“Leaving a child unattended in a car, even for a short period of time, is dangerous. A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adults, placing them at greater risk of dehydration and life threatening heatstroke.”

“The direct action by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is a major step in supporting the community and the efforts of Kidsafe Victoria, Government, emergency services and health authorities, in raising awareness of this important issue,” said Mr Chambers.

“The message from Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and Kidsafe Victoria is clear - if you are travelling with a child in a car and you need to leave, make sure you take the child with you. While the campaign specifically focuses on children, Cr. Gill noted there are other members of the community who are also vulnerable in the heat.

“The same messages apply for the elderly and our pets – never leave them unattended in a car on a hot day.”

How to Join the KIDSAFE Victoria Do Not Leave Children in Cars Campaign
http://www.kidsafevic.com.au/images/pdfs/Do_Not_Leave_Children_In_Cars.pdf

 

Pool and Spa Owners Urged to Take Action to Reduce Toddler Drowning Deaths Is Your Home Pool Defence Set for Summer?

With thousands of BBQ's and pool parties expected to be held across Victoria this summer, Kidsafe Victoria have called on all pool owners to 'set their backyard pool defence' this Water Safety Week, in a bid to reduce the number of toddler drowning deaths.

The warning comes as recent figures from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia's National Drowning Report show that in 2017/18, 18 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned. The majority of these incidents (67%) occurred in swimming pools.

 

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Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria said, "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."

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.

CEO of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria, Chris Samartzis, highlighted the importance of pool and spa owners conducting regular checks of their barriers, saying "Pool and spa barriers are exposed to the extremes of weather all year round which can lead to rust, loose or missing bolts or screws and wear and tear over time. It's critical that pool and spa owners regularly check and maintain their barriers to ensure they are safe and fully compliant."

While pool and spa barriers play an important role in reducing the risk of childhood drowning, Kidsafe is reminding the public that their home pool defence should also include a number of other actions.

"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," said Mr Chambers.

Kidsafe Victoria’s 'Safe Barriers Save Lives' campaign is proudly supported by SPASA Victoria, Safetech Hardware Australia, Protector Aluminium and the Victorian Pool Check and Compliance Agency. To find out more about the campaign and to access resources including Life Saving Victoria's home pool safety checklist, please visit www.kidsafevic.com.au

Kidsafe Victoria's summer pool 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 and pool parties 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 enjoy the festivities.
  • 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 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, pool pumps near the pool barrier which could allow a child to climb over the fence
  • Excess space under the barrier, and;
  • Misuse (e.g. propping the pool gate open)

Water Safety Week runs from 3rd - 10th December 2018.

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