Parents must be vigilant to keep their children safe around inflatable and portable pools this summer, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said at the launch of the Kids Can Drown Without A Soundcampaign on Thursday.
The NSW Government has joined forces with the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the Westmead Children’s Hospital, Royal Life Saving Society and the NSW Ambulance Service to help prevent backyard drownings in inflatable pools this summer.
“From 2007 to 2011, 40 children drowned in backyard pools in NSW. Last year, five children drowned in backyard pools and there were 30 near drownings.
“Something people need to be particularly aware of is the danger posed by inflatable pools that are often not fenced off or left filled up an unsupervised when not in use,” said the President of the NSW AMA, Associate Professor Brian Owler.
“Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for young children but it doesn’t have to be.
“With the Government’s new pool fence laws and campaigns like Kids Can Drown Without a Sound we are working to keeps kids safe this summer.
“All parents know that children can be unpredictable and aren’t necessarily aware of the danger bodies of water present.
“What we are trying to do is highlight things that can be done to protect them, like fencing off inflatable pools,
“Water does not need to be very deep to drown a toddler” A/Prof Owler said. “Even if a child survives a near-drowning, he or she can be left with severe and permanent brain damage.
Mrs Skinner said information and resources are available for pool owners and parents in 16 different languages.
“Inflatable swimming pools are increasing in popularity due to their easy set-up, low cost and affordability but they present the same drowning hazards as large pools.”
Pool owners are responsible for ensuring the safety of children in their homes. By law, inflatable or portable swimming pools capable of being filled with more than 30cm of water require a four-sided fence.
“Even in small or large pools, kids can drown in seconds and without a sound,” Mrs Skinner said.
- Safety issues for inflatable and portable pools include:
- Small pools should only be used if they are emptied and stored after use
- Larger portable pools should only be used if fenced
- Fines apply for those who do not have a four-sided fence around any pool that can be filled with more than 30cm of water
- Children under 5 should be supervised at all times.
To obtain further information and posters in 16 community languages, visit the NSW Health website here.