Portable swimming pools pose a serious drowning risk to children. Due to the increasing availability of portable pools, drowning prevention advocates Royal Life Saving Society – Australia are again concerned in the lead up to Christmas and the Summer period.
Children drown in portable swimming pools every year in Australia. Those most at risk are children under three years of age and almost two thirds of those who have drowned are males.
Many more children are hospitalised as a result of a drowning incident in a portable swimming pool. Some children are left with persisting neurological impairment as a result of a non-fatal drowning that can affect them for the rest of their lives.
Royal Life Saving CEO Justin Scarr says “Portable pools, commonly also known as paddling pools, wading pools, inflatable pools, pose a serious drowning risk to young children and people need to be aware of this before they purchase one this Christmas or set theirs up for the Summer holidays.”
To combat this risk, Royal Life Saving and consumer affairs agencies around Australia have collaborated on a portable pool safety campaign. Called “Make It Safe”, the campaign aims to educate consumers on the risks of owning a portable pool and encouraging five simple safety steps to reduce the risks. People are urged to visit www.royallifesaving.com.au/makeitsafe for handy tips and resources.
Royal Life Saving identifies the need to reach and inform a range of ethnic communities. The portable pools fact sheet has been translated in Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Greek, Italian and Vietnamese providing statistics, information and a portable pool safety checklist. To access these translated resources visit: http://www.royallifesaving.com.au/programs/makeitsafe/translated-resources.
Royal Life Saving CEO Justin Scarr says “What’s extremely concerning to Royal Life Saving is that most people may not be aware of the legal requirement in most States and Territories to fence a pool deeper than 300mm (including portable pools). With Christmas and the Summer holidays fast approaching we urge people to think carefully about their purchase and consider “How can I Make It Safe?”
The portable pool safety campaign calls on people who own or are considering purchasing a portable swimming pool, to be aware of these five simple safety steps:
- Check with your local council regarding fencing requirements.
- Ensure you always actively supervise children within arms’ reach whenever they are in, or around the water.
- Never rely on older children to supervise younger children, no matter how confident you are about their ability to supervise the younger child.
- For smaller pools – ensure you empty them and put them away when you are finished with them.
- Always store portable pools safely away from young children. Ensure the pool cannot fill with rain water or water from sprinklers.
The portable pool safety campaign is part of a broader portable pool project by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and state and territory consumer protection agencies. The mandatory standard prescribing labelling requirements on portable pools commenced in March 2014. The ACCC and state and territory agencies have conducted wide ranging marketplace compliance monitoring activities just prior to commencement of the standard and since it has been in effect. Collectively, they have visited over 1,200 stores nationwide and inspected over 2,200 pools in 2014.
Between the last two rounds of monitoring, the compliance rate of portable pools has increased by 15 per cent, to more than four in five products now being found compliant. The ACCC and state and territory consumer protection agencies will continue to monitor compliance. Suppliers of noncompliant portable pools can face hefty penalties including court enforced undertakings and fines of up to $1.1 million for companies.
ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard says “It is encouraging to see an improvement in compliance with the mandatory standard, as the labelling required under the standard alerts consumers to information on active supervision, safe storage and state and territory pool fencing laws.”
Delia Rickard says “Child drowning is silent and can happen very quickly – and young kids can easily topple and fall by accident.”
Members of the community who want more information on water safety and drowning prevention tips for portable pools should visit www.royallifesaving.com.au/makeitsafe. We ask everyone to visit www.youtube.com/RoyalLifeSavingAust for water safety videos and share to save a life.
Media enquiries to:
Royal Life Saving Media Key - 03 9769 6488
ACCC media team - 1300 138 917