The owners of an estimated 170,000 backyard swimming pools throughout Victoria were urged to 'Close the Gate on Backyard Pool Drowning' this summer at the launch of Kidsafe Victoria's pool safety campaign at Parliament House this morning.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for Australian children under 5 years of age. Every year in Victoria, approximately 4 children aged 0-4 years drown and a further 40 children are hospitalised due to non-fatal drowning incidents. Backyard pools are the most common location where these incidents occur.
Left: Sholem and Mikhayla with Craig Ondarchie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, at the official launch of 'Closing the Gate on Backyard Pool Drownings' this morning.
Craig Ondarchie MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, officially launched the campaign headed by Kidsafe Victoria, and was joined by Dr Adam West, Director of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, Monash Emergency, Monash Health, and a number of key organisations and industry groups.
Mr Ondarchie said, "The tragedy of a drowning or near drowning can have a lifetime impact on family and friends. For every drowning death involving a child aged 0-4 years in Victoria, there are approximately ten non fatal drownings, which can result in a child receiving permanent brain damage."
"Children drown quickly and quietly. We urge all parents with pools or visiting homes with pools or spas to make sure they maintain constant supervision of their children around water."
"Today we are urging all swimming pool owners to thoroughly check their pool barriers and gates and importantly take action to immediately repair any faults, to help ensure their pools and spas are safe."
Campaign partners and supporters at the launch of 'Closing the Gate on Backyard Pool Drownings' this morning in the Parliament House Parliamentary Gardens.
Robert Caulfield, Vice President of Kidsafe Victoria said, "Studies have shown pool fencing, particularly isolation fencing, to be effective in reducing the risk of drowning. However, evidence suggests that a large number of child drowning incidents occur as a result of pool fencing that is faulty or non-compliant with Australian Standards.
"All pool and spa fencing will experience exposure to extremes of weather and wear and tear over time including rust, missing bolts or screws and damage. Therefore it is important that it is regularly checked and maintained."
Life Saving Online Kidsafe Resources for Pool Owners
The campaign calls for all pool and spa owners to visit www.kidsafevic.com.au/water-safety/pool-fence-safety and utilise the online home pool safety assessment tool, developed by Life Saving Victoria, to check the safety of their pool areas. This includes common pool barrier faults/non-compliance issues such as:
- Gates that don't self-latch or self-close.
- Climbable objects in the 'non climbable' zone outlined in the Australian Standards (e.g. pot plants, chairs, pool pumps near the pool fencing which could allow a child to climb over the fence).
- Excess space under the fence, and;
- Misuse (e.g. propping the pool gate open).
The campaign forms part of the Victorian State Government's 'Play it Safe by the Water Campaign' and is supported by the following partners:
- Kidsafe Victoria
- Lifesaving Victoria (LSV)
- Victorian Building Authority (VBA)
- Ambulance Victoria
- SPASA VIC
- Department of Justice
- Aquatics and Recreation Victoria
- Real Estate Institute of Victoria
- Consumer Affairs Victoria
Key Campaign Message
'Daylight isn't the only thing you can save this October 5th. Check the safety of your pool fence before your child does.'