Play it safe in the water


As more Victorians take to the water in the lead up to Water Safety Week, Consumer Affairs Victoria is reminding people to use floatation devices and water toys safely. This reminder is timely as mandatory product bans and safety standards are harmonised nationally.

“Under the national system, Victoria continues to maintain its high standards including those that cover floatation aids and aquatic toys,” Consumer Affairs Victoria Director Dr Claire Noone said.

“By having uniform national bans and standards in place we are ensuring that kids all over Australia are equally protected.

At this time of year, with kids spending a lot of time in the water, consumers need to be vigilant about using water products safely. People are reminded to always follow the instructions when using swimming and floatation aids such as vests and ‘floaties’. If a flotation aid fails or is not used properly, children may be at risk of drowning.

Parents and carers should be aware that floatation and aquatic toys are not safety aids and not confuse the two. 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.

“These toys can be great fun for kids but they need to be used safely and with competent adult supervision,” Dr Noone said.

“Children are at risk of drowning or serious injury if these products are used incorrectly. Swimming aids and other water toys are not a replacement for adult supervision and vigilance around water.”

Around 32 children under the age of five drown in Australia on average each year.

Between 2004 and 2008, there were 38 emergency visits recorded in Victoria for injuries involving children’s flotation aids and aquatic toys.

Water Safety Week will be held from 27 November to 5 December 2010. During the week, a range of activities will take place to improve peoples water safety skills and encourage them to ‘Play it Safe by the Water’.

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.
More information about Water Safety Week is available at the Aquatics & Recreation Victoria website.

Contact details

For further advice and information about product safety contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 or view Consumer Affairs Victoria's Product safety section.

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