Zero toddler drowning deaths in WA – a credit to our State

The regulator responsible for enforcing swimming pool safety barrier standards has commended the WA community for achieving zero toddler drowning deaths in 2019/2020.

The Building and Energy division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) believes the results featured in the Royal Life Saving’s National Drowning Report show that local government pool barrier inspections and education campaigns, such as Keep Watch and Don’t Duck Out – Make it Safe, are having a positive impact on the community.

For the first time since data has been collected, the annual report showed that there were no drowning deaths among children aged under five years old in WA. The report also identified a 52 per cent decrease in drowning deaths in this category compared to the ten year average.

Executive Director of Building and Energy Saj Abdoolakhan said this result reflected the great efforts by Royal Life Saving, all members of the community who contribute to preventing the drowning deaths of children and local government pool inspectors.

“This is a tremendous achievement for the State and was no doubt contributed to by the long-running effort to create safe barriers and educate parents about the steps they can take to prevent toddler drowning,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“The Keep Watch campaign, which highlights the importance of active adult supervision, restricting access to water, water awareness and learning CPR, are hitting home and helping to keep children safe.

“Pools are typically one of the largest causes of accidental death for young children. Measures such as mandatory pool safety barriers, regular local government inspections and public education are inexplicably important, and Western Australia continues to lead the way.

“While adult supervision within arm’s reach of young children is the best way to prevent drowning incidents, owners of swimming pools can do some simple things to reduce the risks. Make sure the gate is working properly, self-closing and self-latching. Make sure there are no big gaps in or under the fence and that there are no climbable objects near it.”

Building and Energy has produced a simple checklist for residents to assess the effectiveness of their pool safety barrier.

“Drowning of young children is preventable. The recent trend is encouraging but, with the warmer months ahead, it is important that we do not become complacent. Use our simple pool safety checklist, supervise your children and enjoy a safe summer of pool fun.”

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