Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSS Australia) released a survey report into parents' and carers' behaviour around home swimming pools. RLSS Australia in conjunction with Griffith University surveyed more than 500 parents of children under 5 in NSW who have access to a home swimming pool. This included both owners of backyard swimming pools and those living in apartment complexes with a pool.
For children aged under 5 years old, home swimming pools are the leading location for drowning.
There were two key safety messages which were the focus of this survey:
1. Supervision around home swimming pools
2. Restriction of access around home swimming pools
The results revealed that among parents of children under 5 years old, there is a greater value placed on supervision than restricting access to this age group. Whilst 63% of respondents reported always supervising children around their pool in the previous month, only 45% reported always restricting access to their pool in the previous month.
This is a major concern as statistics show that lacking either of these factors contributes to drowning deaths. RLSS Australia have previously published data following a 13 year study into drowning deaths in NSW. Looking at children under 5 years old who had drowned in a home swimming pool, supervision was completely absent in the majority of cases.
Regarding access to the pools, data revealed that of those children who had drowned in this period:
This data confirms the absolute necessity of both constant active supervision and restricting access with compliant, well maintained fencing.
Royal Life Saving Society’s Keep Watch Advice:
1. Supervise: All your attention, all of the time
2. Restrict Access: Ensure there is an adequate barrier between the water and your child
3. Water Awareness: Enrol in swim lessons to gain familiarity and water confidence
4. Resuscitate: Learn the life saving skills of CPR
Author: Josephine Moss (Swim School Coordinator)