Royal Life Saving Society of Australia National Drowning Report Shows Spike in Infant Drowning | Liverpool City Champion
Pool owners are urged to make sure their pools are safe for the summer after a national report showed toddler drowning deaths on the rise.
The Royal Life Saving Society of Australia’s National Drowning Report showed that in 2020/21, 25 Australian children between the ages of zero and four drowned.
This is a 108% increase from the previous year and the highest number since 2016/17.
At the same time, Kidsafe has launched its annual ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign which calls on homeowners to check their pool and spa barriers at the start of daylight saving time.
Swimming pools were one of the most common places for toddler drownings, with eight out of 25 occurring there.
Kidsafe Victoria chief executive Jason Chambers said toddlers are particularly at risk as they are drawn to water but don’t understand its dangers.
Mr Chambers said it was also important for parents and caregivers to have their children on hand, enroll their children in learning to swim lessons and have some knowledge of CPR and first aid.
“Children can drown quickly and silently,” he said. “It only takes a fraction of a second for them to gain unattended access to the water area and find themselves in trouble.”
While fencing around swimming pools and spas is effective, Mr Chambers said many drowning deaths were also due to faulty gates that were not maintained or do not meet Australian standards.
Campaign Ambassador and Olympic swimmer Matt Welsh said it was important to check that the barriers and gates were working.
“By doing so, you could save a child’s life,” he said. “Especially since many of us will be spending more time in and around the backyard pool this summer.”
Some of the main issues with pool and spa fencing include the gate or gate that does not close or lock automatically, the gate is kept open for convenience, gaps or holes in the fence, and climbing objects near the pool fence.