This is the message to all parents and carers when supervising children around water. Why? Because young children can drown in only 3cm of water, silently and within just 20 seconds. On average one young child dies from drowning in a portable pool in Australia every year. The risk of drowning in any unfenced home pool is higher than one which is fenced. And you could be fined or prosecuted if you don’t safeguard your portable pool correctly.

These statistics have prompted Australian Consumer Law and product safety regulators to join forces with Royal Life Saving Society – Australia to remind parents and carers to make portable pools SAFE. Portable pools – ranging from small blow-up or plastic paddling or kiddie pools to bigger wading pools, inflatable spas or high-sided flexible plastic pools on a frame – can be popular in summer as a cheap alternative to below-ground pools BUT they’re just as dangerous.

Royal Life Saving Society – Western Australia CEO, Peter Leaversuch says their annual National Drowning Report highlights the issue of portable pool drowning and who is most at risk. “Our statistics show there is one child fatality as a result of a portable pool drowning each year. The child is almost always under five-years-old and more likely to be male.

“We don’t want any deaths or hospitalisations due to drowning this summer. Adults following the Don’t Duck Out, Make It SAFE tips, such as keeping constant watch of kids around portable pools, can reduce the risk and potentially save lives.”

Supervise. Actively watch children within arm’s reach. Don’t leave older children in charge.

Act. Learn emergency first aid including CPR. It’s important to start compressions and breaths as soon as possible when a child is pulled from the water and to call triple zero (000) for help. If there are two people, one should make the phone call while the other does CPR.

Fence. In WA, and most of Australia, pools with more than 30cm of water in, are legally required to have a compliant safety barrier. Check with your local Council.

Empty and store safely. After keeping watch all day, pour out water and put the pool away where children can’t reach. Never leave it where it can refill with rain or sprinkler water.


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