A child safety campaign has been re-launched highlighting the dangers of portable pools with, on average, one child drowning every year in Australia and many more needing hospital treatment, some left with severe brain injuries.
The ‘Don’t Duck Out, Make it SAFE’ summer campaign involves product safety regulators throughout Australia, including Consumer Protection in WA, joining forces with the Royal Life Saving Society to raise awareness of safety measures aimed at preventing children from drowning.
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 as a cheap alternative to below-ground pools, but they’re just as dangerous.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said now is the time for parents and carers of children to consider the risks before purchasing or using a portable pool.
“It’s timely to warn people about the drowning risk associated with portable pools as the weather warms up and many are considering buying a portable pool for the backyard or as a Christmas gift,” Ms Chopping said.
“We have again partnered with Royal Life Saving to run ‘Don’t Duck Out, Make It SAFE’, to educate consumers of the responsibilities you take on when you buy a portable pool, which focusses on constant supervision and may include putting up a safety barrier.
“Don’t be distracted by a visitor to the home or by the phone if you are caring for children who have access to a portable pool. If the pool contains more than 30 centimetres of water, it is required to be fenced and the gate will need to have an approved locking device.”
Lauren Nimmo, Senior Manager for Health Promotion and Research at the Royal Life Saving Society WA, says the 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,”
Ms Nimmo said.
“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 response 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 most parts of Australia, pools filled with more than 30cm of water, are legally required to have a compliant safety barrier. Check with your local council or relevant government agency.
- Empty and store safely. After keeping watch all day, pour away water and store the pool where children can’t reach. Never leave it where it can refill with rain or sprinkler water.
Anyone thinking about purchasing a portable pool should take a few minutes to check out www.productsafety.gov.au/makeitsafe