Our latest research shows 461 children under the age of 5 have died in Australia during the past 15 years due to drowning. Of these, half the drownings were in home pools or spas.
In 100 per cent of child drowning cases in home swimming pools, active adult supervision had either lapsed or was entirely absent.
Water is only safe when you are watching. Distractions like answering the phone, attending to another child or going inside briefly to grab something can have absolutely tragic consequences if a toddler is left unattended by water.
An average of 31 children tragically drown every year. For every toddler drowning death, approximately 10 children are admitted to hospital as a result of non-fatal drowning.
Drowning is preventable.
We ask all readers to follow the four Keep Watch key actions to prevent toddler drowning; always actively supervise all children around water, regularly check and maintain your pool fence and gate, teach children water awareness, and learn CPR.
One recent study showed in 62 per cent of cases, the child had gained access to the pool area through a faulty fence or gate or through a deliberately propped open gate.
We stress the importance of regularly checking and maintaining pool fences and gate to ensure it’s in working order.
We ask all parents to take every precaution when it comes to their child’s safety around water. Tips and resources can be found at keepwatch.com.au.
Justin Scarr, CEO, Royal Life Saving Society – Australia