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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.

Team Effort to Reduce Toddler Drowning Deaths

‘Kick a Goal’ for Backyard Pool Safety by Setting Your Pool Defence

In 2017/18, 18 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned

Australian families are being urged to ‘kick a goal for pool safety’ by checking their backyard pool and spa barriers in the lead up to the warmer months.                    

Olympian Matt Welsh OAM, this morning will join Kidsafe Australia to launch the sixth annual ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ backyard pool safety campaign at Victoria Park, the historic home of the Collingwood Football Club. 

AFL great Rodney Eade features in the campaign video, providing a ¾ time pep talk to his team to remind them that when it comes to pool safety ‘the best offence is a good defence’.

As part of the campaign, Kidsafe is urging all pool owners to check their barriers and set their backyard pool defence at the beginning of daylight saving on Sunday 7 October 2018.

Figures released last week in the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia’s National Drowning Report show that in 2017/18, 18 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned, a reduction of 38% on the previous financial year. The majority of these incidents (67%) occurred in swimming pools.

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.

“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 OAM knows the benefits that learning to swim and growing up around water can provide for children. As a father of four - with a fifth child on the way - he also understands the risks that swimming pools and spas can pose if strategies aren’t put in place to keep children safe.

“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”, said Mr Welsh.

CEO of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association 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 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 Welsh.

For further information on the campaign and to access resources including Life Saving Victoria’s home pool safety checklist, please visit www.kidsafevic.com.au 

The ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign is proudly supported by SPASA Victoria, Safetech Hardware, Protector Aluminium and the Victorian Pool Check and Compliance Agency.

 

 

New Victorian rental laws to help prevent furniture tip-over incidents

Kidsafe Victoria commends the Andrew’s government and Fairer Safer Housing Victoria for passing critical reforms for Victorian renters in relation to child safety.

A bill passed in September reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, will enable renters to make minor approved modifications to their home without requiring permission from the landlord. This includes the act of securing televisions and other heavy items to walls and floors to prevent tip-over incidents and will be effective in 2019.

Melanie Courtney, CEO of Kidsafe Victoria, welcomed the reforms, advising that, “Empowering families to keep their kids safe from furniture tipovers is a move Kidsafe strongly supports and is a first for child safety around Australia. We look forward to strong communication from the State Government with real estate agents, landlords and tenants to support the implementation of the legislation,” said Ms Courtney.

Children's curiosity and lack of awareness of danger placed them at increased risk of injury from TV and furniture tip overs. Approximately 22 children under the age of 9 have died in Australia since 2001 from toppling furniture or televisions.

Kidsafe Victoria is urging all landlords to proactively take action and grant any requests for child saving minor modifications until the law becomes active.

For more information on the reformed Victorian rental laws, please visit https://engage.vic.gov.au/fairersaferhousing

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