A toy story not to be repeated


Consumer Affairs Victoria is reminding Victorians that pool toys and other floatation devices are not a substitute for proper safety devices in the water.

“We saw during the most recent floods what can happen when people ignore this message and use blow up toys as floatation aids,” Consumer Affairs Director Dr Claire Noone said. 

Earlier this month the police and SES had to be called to rescue two people floating down the Yarra on inflatable dolls who got into trouble during the recent flooding in Victoria.

“Most people are aware of the importance of water safety but there will always be a few who fail to heed the message. This is why we continually remind people not to confuse toys with legitimate safety aids. 

“People should always follow the instructions when using swimming and floatation aids. If a flotation aid fails or is not used properly, people may be at risk of drowning.”

Floatation and aquatic toys come in many styles that kids can wear, hold on to, sit on or attach to their bodies. These are for kids to use when playing in water and are not a substitute for safety aids.

“With the Melbourne Pool and Spa expo this weekend, it’s again timely to remind people that while water toys can be great fun for kids, they need to be used safely and with competent adult supervision,” Dr Noone said. 

“Swimming aids and other water toys are not a replacement for adult supervision and vigilance around water.”

According to the Royal Life Saving Society there were 314 drowning deaths in Australian waterways between 1 July 2009 and 30 June 2010. Of these, 56 were children between the age of 0-17.

Consumer Affairs Victoria reminds people:

  • do not rely on floatation aids or aquatic toys as safety devices
  • never leave a small child near water
  • always supervise children in the water, even if they are confident swimmers
  • if you have a pool, it is compulsory to install child resistant pool fences and gates. For specific information on this you need to check with your local council.

For further advice and information about product safety in Victoria contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 or visit www.consumer.vic.gov.au

For information on water safety visit www.watersafety.vic.gov.au. To learn about the current bans on pools and spas with unsafe design features visit the Bans page of the Product Safety Australia website.

The Pool and Spa Expo is being held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre from 28 – 30 January 2011.

Contact details

Consumer Affairs Victoria media contact Rachel Tosolini

Telephone: 03 8684 8339

Responsible regulator

Product category