January 23, 2020
Families urged to have safety front of mind this Australia Day long weekend

Australia Day long weekend, Kidsafe Victoria has urged families to be extra vigilant on the road and around water, to help keep children safe.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death for Australian children under 5 years of age. Statistics from the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia’s National Drowning Report show that in 2018/19, 19 Australian children aged 0-4 years drowned. The majority of these drowning incidents (63%) occurred in swimming pools.

General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, Jason Chambers, highlighted the importance of active adult supervision in keeping children safe in and around water this long weekend.

“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 backyard BBQ’s and pool parties, it can be easy to assume that there are lots of adults watching the kids, when in fact, nobody is.”

“To help make sure children are actively supervised at all times, It’s a good idea to appoint designated supervisors at BBQ’s and pool parties, whose role it is to actively supervise children in and around the pool. This role can be shared throughout the day so that everyone gets a chance to relax and enjoy the festivities”, said Mr Chambers.

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 “Pools and spas provide endless hours of fun for families. Maintenance to barriers is vital because they 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.”

With holiday traffic expected to be busy across the long weekend, Kidsafe Victoria is also reminding families about the importance of correctly installed and adjusted child car restraints and taking care on the roads, to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safely.

Australia Day Holiday Safety Tips

  • >Children should be seated in a child restraint or booster seat that is correct for their size/age, correctly installed into the vehicle and adjusted to fit them properly.
  • >Buckle up correctly on every trip, no matter how long or short the trip is.
  • >Plan ahead, including what route you will take, what time of the day you will travel and where you can stop along the way to give everyone a chance to refresh stretch their legs.
  • >Keep the kids busy and entertained in the car with activities such as games, colouring in, stories or watching a movie.
  • >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 actively supervise children in and around the pool. This role can be shared throughout the day so that everyone gets a chance to relax and enjoy themselves.
  • >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.
  • >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.

Media Enquiries: Jason Chambers, General Manager, Kidsafe Victoria – Mobile: 0431 447 982