Pool deaths are, sadly, a common occurrence throughout Australia as a whole, due to our high heats and love of water. Unfortunately, there has been a recent spate of child drownings, particularly in NSW. In 2015, there was a 30% increase in child drownings in Australia. What’s even more troubling about this is that most of these drownings have taken place in private pools, and these deaths are easily preventable with the use of a pool cover.

In November last year, two girls aged under 5 drowned in South Brisbane. There was another early January 2017, with a toddler losing her life in Macquarie Fields in New Zealand. Sadly, a set of twins in Western Sydney passed away almost two weeks after being found unconscious in their backyard pool, around Christmas last year.

It’s extremely distressing for us at Remco to know that there are child drownings that could be easily preventable with appropriate protective barriers. Twenty-eight of these pools were fenced, but twenty-four of them had defects that potentially enabled a child to access the area. Clearly, fences aren’t enough to protect our children.

To highlight the risk, a child can drown in as little as 5cm of water, in less than 2 minutes. A backyard pool, with much more water than 5cm, is an extremely dangerous environment for children.

There are four ways to prevent young children drowning.

Supervision | Keeping a close watch

Young children should never be left alone, or with another child, in or around any body of water. Insufficient supervision is the most significant contributing factor to child drownings, so this is of paramount importance, and the most effective prevention method.

Be sure to designate a “watcher” when there are multiple adults around, such as at a family gathering.

Eliminating hazards

Try to keep the pool fence free from devices your child might use to climb the fence. It is also a good idea that buckets and baths be left empty when not in use. Make sure there are no toys or floaties in the water, as a child may attempt to retrieve them.

Environmental measures

A survey by CHOICE revealed that over half of all Australian pool fences failed to meet a key safety aspect of the Australian standard for pool fencing. It is crucial to ensure the pool fence is in good working order, or other protective barriers and pool covers are in excellent condition.

Education and developing skills

Most young children can develop swimming skills from a young age, and though this will help a child, it will not drown-proof them. Teaching them that the pool is dangerous and not to be used when there are no adults around will also help.

Children under five are at the highest risk, and the majority of these drownings occur in and around the home, mostly in private swimming pools. Active adult supervision, restricting access to water, and importantly, appropriate barriers and covers around the pool will help decrease this tragic statistic.

Please be vigilant with your children, particularly in these sweltering summer days where they may be looking for a reprieve from the heat. Many of the children who passed away were left unattended for ten minutes or less. Invest in a Remco Pool Cover and protect your children.

Please stay safe, be alert, and keep an eye on your little ones.