Child nearly drowns at Kingswim Macgregor Halloween party



A four-year-old girl had to be resuscitated after she almost drowned at a Kingswim Halloween party. Photo: Andrew Quilty

A Macgregor swimming school is under investigation after a four-year-old girl almost drowned at a Halloween party last month.At least one parent has threatened to pull their child from the school after the girl was found unconscious in the pool at the Kingswim facility in Macgregor on Sunday, October 30.

The child was given CPR on-site and taken to hospital by paramedics. The near-drowning occurred during a Halloween-themed pool party.

Both ACT Policing and WorkSafe ACT confirmed they had launched investigations into the incident.

WorkSafe ACT commissioner Greg Jones said the school reported the incident to them within 24 hours and their investigation would home in on the impact on the staff and whether their supporting documentation was up-to-date.

An ACT Policing spokeswoman said: "At this time, investigations into this incident are ongoing."

One parent alleged on the school's Facebook page staff did not notice the child floating face down in the deep end of the pool.

"She was purple by the time she was pulled out and staff didn't even know how long she'd been there," the woman wrote.However, another parent rushed to defend the swim school.

"As a parent who was also there I can see your point of view but from what I saw the staff did exactly what they needed to do in what was a shocking situation," she wrote.

"There were two teachers in the pool to approx 40 kids, recommendation is 1 staff member to 80. There was a minimum of 6 staff walking around the pool watching the children. It was a really tragic accident, I don't think there's anyone to blame. I will be keeping my child at Kings."

AustSwim guidelines state there must be one teacher per 10 students with beginner swimming skills. The guidelines also state there must be one teacher for every 12 students with intermediate swimming abilities.

Kingswim general manager Matt Feutrill said in a statement that the child had made a full recovery.

"The family has expressed appreciation and gratitude for the way Kingswim staff responded to the situation and their skills were recognised by the attending emergency services," Mr Feutrill said.

"We consider the safety and well-being of all our patrons to be of the highest priority and can confirm that staff to child ratios exceeded the Royal Life Saving Society Australia Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations.

"It is natural for people to be affected by such incidents and all our staff have been offered support."

Swimming lessons resumed the day after the near-drowning.

Royal Life Saving ACT chief executive Cherry Bailey said it was "concerning" that a child could almost drown with so much supervision. "It does show that accidents can happen no matter how much of a controlled environment you're in," Ms Bailey said.

"It's obviously concerning that with so much supervision around it still managed to happen but the key message is keep your kids within arm's reach in the pool, especially kids under five.

"People can overestimate their child's swimming abilities at that age and when they get into trouble they panic and they can't use their cognitive skills to get themselves into a safe position."