Statistics barely scratch the surface of pool-drowning tragedies! We don't like talking about statistics, but just for a minute, let's have some facts.
Drowning is, unfortunately, one of the leading causes of death in QLD for children aged under 5.
The Royal Life Saving Society – Australia National Drowning Report for 2012 states the obvious, and they share something we should all recognize about the 284 people who drowned in Australia in 2011/12.
First – that's 284 too many!
Second – 38% of children who drowned in swimming pools were aged 0-4 years – that's 38% too many!
All swimming pool drownings are preventable! This page will talk about how to maximize safety for your pool and prevent any unfortunate events.
Pools in Australia
Everyone knows that Australians love their swimming, whether it's at the beach, public pool, or home pool.
Did you know that there are more local swimming pools (per capita) in Australia than every other country in the world, and the new backyard pool market is estimated at 20,000 per year, and that QLD has more than double the number of pools compared to 20 years ago!
In a drive to improve safety standards, governments of Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia have registration schemes implemented for backyard pools.
This initiative is a worthy idea, but in and off itself it is not going to solve the problem.
Obviously safety is of the utmost priority, and is certainly a top priority for families with young children. A tragedy in your backyard is the last thing anyone needs, and one major factor to prevent those tragedies is by having appropriate safety measures, and applying them.
Your Safety Checklist
There are many things that are readily available to make sure your pool is safe. Here are some very important strategies that should be implemented:
- Registering and certifying your pool
- Educating your children
- Learning first aid and CPR
- Using signage
- Implementing pool fencing and barriers
- Installing pool alarms
- Getting a winter safety net
- Removing climbable objects around the pool
Registering Your Pool
Your pool can and must be registered and inspected to ensure it meets safety regulations. Pool safety certificates are only valuable if received from a licensed pool safety inspector. Please ensure that you have your license, or ask the landlord of the house you are leasing to show you his poll safety license.
Educate Your Self and Your Children
Please keep your eyes on the children when they're in or around the pool or water.
Also, please make it a priority to teach your children how to swim early on. You can either do this yourself, or take them to an accredited swimming school.
Educating your children about how to swim and how to use (and not to use) the pool is mandatory, however please take a first aid and CPR class yourself, in case of an emergency.
Using signage to promote water safety in and around pools is another simple, cost effective and enormously valuable tool for injury prevention. QLD requires that the latest CPR sign to be displayed near your pool.
Signage is known to be essential for thorough and effective water safety practice, as it is a technique to minimize danger by giving information to ultimately affect behavior.
Likewise, the use of symbols in signage is a method that surpasses any language barrier. This in turn, gives a purpose and meaning that can be shown to a diverse public.
Pool Fencing and Barriers
You should check what type of pool fence you need install (or have already installed), and what to look out for in relation to the type of pool you have.
The chief purpose of pool fencing is to ensure pool safety and the safety of the family and friends, but most of all, that of young children.
Pool fencing is mandatory in Australia and is considered essential to safety, so make sure your pool is surrounded by pool fencing that meets the regulations for your state, and make sure you keep the doors closed when pool is not in use.
The type of pool and it's background can influence how safe the fencing is, and if it's necessary – acquire a contractor to check the fence for possible replacement.
Please ensure your home pool fencing is safe during the winter months too – remember, drowning still occurs in winter, even though the pool is out of use.
Pool barriers are also required, and it is the pool owners responsibility to maintain both the fencing and barriers of entry to the pool.
Install pool alarms in case children act like children and happen to fall in the pool. A pool alarm will trigger an alarm both at the pool and at your home, notifying you that an accident happened.
Winter Safety Net
A winter safety net can provide another layer of protection if your child manages to breach the fence – a safety net prevents anyone access to water while the pool is not in use.
Remove Climbable Objects
Finally, in case there are any trees or other climbable objects that make it possible for your children to get over the fence, remove them, or at least render them useless for climbing.
We at Aqua Vista would like to encourage pool owners to be responsible for observing the safety of their swimming pools during winter months. Even though winter temperatures drop, the dangers of drowning in backyard pools does not.
Hence, we made this awesome infographics in order to raise awarenes about winter pool safety.