Did you know that 35% of pool fences in Western Australia do not comply with the Australian standards at the first inspection? With water-based activities a huge part of the Australian lifestyle and one in seven homes in Western Australia having a backyard pool, this is a huge concern for those in the injury prevention sector.
Statistics tell us that drowning is the most common cause of accidental death for Australian children aged up to four years. Seventy five percent of drownings happen at a child’s usual place of residence with the remaining twenty five percent occurring at the home of a relative or neighbour. A lack of supervision and inadequate pool fencing are all contributing to the number of drownings occurring each year in Western Australia.
These inadequacies can include pool gates being left propped open, gates not self-closing or self-latching, climbable objects or structures being placed near fences or an unlocked or open door can all increase a child’s access to water and the potential for injuries or drownings.
The Know Injury team, in partnership with the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia, delivered a Water Safety in the Home Workshop for local government pool fence inspectors on Thursday 30 March, as part of the Royal Life Saving Water Safety in the Home campaign. One of the key take home messages from the workshop was the value adding services that local governments can provide to pool home owners. These include CPR charts which can be displayed around pool areas, discounted first aid training, distribution of Keep Watch resource packs and providing incentives for pools to be compliant at the first assessment as well as community advertising and promotions.
The Royal Life Saving Society delivers the Keep Watch program in WA. The program targets parents with young children and encourages them to supervise, learn, prevent and respond to keep children safe around water. Supervise: always keep watch of your child in arm’s reach when around water, Learn; teach your child to be water confident, prevent; your child’s access to water at all times and respond; learn CPR and call triple 000 in an emergency.
Pool fence inspectors can refer parents to the program where they can access parent education sessions, children’s water safety talks, professional development training sessions and first aid courses and resources.
Nimmo, L (2015). A 10-year analysis of drowning in toddlers aged 0-4 years in Western Australia (2003/04 to 2012/13). Royal Life Saving Society WA, Perth.