September e-news - Closing the Gate edition
Welcome to the September edition of Kidsafe Victoria’s e-news. This month is all about pool and spa safety! With summer fast approaching, we are encouraging all pool and spa owners to check their pool safety barrier before a child does. We have some details on how to undertake a safety assessment of your pool area, some tips for renters and landlords, as well as information on how to make grand final day as safe and fun as possible! Happy reading and stay safe.
Closing the Gate on Backyard Pool Drowning
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for Australian children under 5. Statistics from Royal Life Saving Society of Australia show that in 2015/16, 21 children aged 0-4 years drowned in Australia. Do you know the most common location where these drowning incidents to occur?
11 toddlers drowned in a backyard pool last year, accounting for 52% of toddler drowning deaths in Australia. Pool safety barriers can be an effective way of helping prevent childhood drowning, but only if they are maintained and used correctly.
Yesterday, Aussie swimming champion Matt Welsh and his four kids helped launch Kidsafe’s fourth annual ‘Closing the Gate on Backyard Pool Drowning’ campaign, calling on all pool and spa owners to check the safety of their barriers in the lead up to summer.
A big thank you to ARC fences for lending us a pool gate for the event.
How to make sure your pool area is safe
All pool barriers receive wear and tear over time, including rust, missing bolts or screws and gaps in the fence caused by ground movement. Kidsafe recommends completing a full assessment of your pool barrier every 12 months. Life Saving Victoria’s Home Pool Safety Assessment tool is available online and can be completed in 20 minutes. To get started, all you will need is a tablet or smart phone (or a printed out copy of the checklist) and a tape measure.
The 20 minutes it takes you to check your pool safety barrier could save a child’s life.
To begin the assessment, please click here.
As well as completing a detailed assessment of your pool barrier every 12 months, it is also important that you continually check your barrier is in proper working order. Here are our top 5 tips for keeping your pool area safe:
- Closely supervise children at all times around the pool/spa
- Ensure that all gates and doors that lead to the pool area are self-closing AND self-latching
- NEVER leave the pool gate propped open
- Check the safety barrier for any gaps, holes or spaces that a child could try to get through
- Keep climbable objects (BBQs. tree stumps, chairs etc.) away from the pool barrier
For more information on the campaign and pool fence safety, please click here.
Remember to keep an eye on our Facebook page for some more pool safety tips throughout the week!
Kick a goal for Child Safety this Grand Final Day
Having friends and family over for a BBQ and a swim can be a great way to celebrate Grand Final day. Before the big game, we have some tips for making sure that you can enjoy the day safely!
Having lots of adults present may seem like there is added supervision for children in the pool, but did you know that this situation can actually increase the risk of drowning? Lifesavers often refer to the ‘everyone is watching’ phenomenon, when adults become less vigilant supervising their children in the pool as they believe that one of the other adults present is supervising for them.
A great way to avoid the ‘everyone is watching trap’ is to have a designated ‘supervisor’ who is responsible for watching the children around the pool.
Pull out a supervisor hat or vest so there is no confusion about who is watching the kids. This role can be rotated throughout the day, so that everyone gets a chance to relax and enjoy the game!
Remember that children require active adult supervision at all times around water and toddlers need to be within arm’s reach.
To recap, here are top tips for celebrating Grand Final day safely:
- Check your pool safety barrier to ensure that children cannot gain unsupervised access to the pool area. For more information on checking your safety barrier, please click here
- Nominate a designated supervisor who is responsible for watching the kids in and around the pool
- Have a supervisor hat or vest that must be worn by the designated supervisor
- Keep toddlers within arm’s reach at all times around water
For more information on pool safety, please click here.
Renting or leasing a property with a pool - your rights and responsibilities
Did you know evidence suggests that rental property residents are at greater risk of experiencing a backyard pool drowning? This is because pool barrier checks and maintenance can often be overlooked in rental properties, especially if there are no permanent residents.
Landlords are responsible for ensuring that pool barriers are in place and that they meet the Australian standards. It is important that tenants regularly check the safety of the pool area to ensure that the pool barrier is maintained and operating correctly. If you notice a fault with the barrier you should contact your landlord or agent immediately and ask them to categorise the repairs as ‘urgent’. For tips on what to check to make sure your pool area is safe, please click here.
As part of the ‘Closing the Gate’ campaign, Kidsafe Victoria has developed a backyard pool and spa safety information kit to assist real estate agents, property managers and landlords to provide pool safety information and resources to their clients. This kit contains information on the laws for pool barriers in Victoria and links to useful resources including Life Saving Victoria's Home Pool Safety Assessment.
For more information on renter and landlord responsibilities and to access the free information kit, please click here.
Mamas & Papas - Armadillo Flip and Armadillo Flip XT strollers
The Armadillo Flip and Flip XT strollers are being recalled due to a latch that may slip and cause the seatback to tip backwards. Mamas and Papas will be calling owners of the strollers to organise a repair. Do not use the stroller in the meantime. For more information, please click here.
Country Road - Indigo Elephant Crew Top
There is a risk that the snaps may detach from the garment during normal use, causing a choking hazard for young children. Consumers should return the top to Country Road for a full refund. For more information, please click here.