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Royal Life Saving Issues Warning About Portable Pools As We Approach Summer

Royal Life Saving are today urging all parents and carers to be aware of the drowning risk portable swimming pools can pose to young children, as part of Kidsafe’s ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign. Portable pools (also known as inflatable pools or wading pools) are a popular choice for many families. They can however, pose a significant drowning risk to young children.

Royal Life Saving’s recently released National Drowning Report 2019 sadly showed 19 children aged 0-4 years lost their lives to drowning in the 2018/19 financial year, a 30% reduction on the ten year average. Although this is encouraging, parents cannot afford to be complacent. Swimming pools, including portable pools, are the leading location for drowning in this age group, accounting for 63% of all deaths in 2018/19.

Over the past 17 years, 19 children aged 0-4 years have drowned in portable pools around the country. In all instances, adult supervision had lapsed and the vast majority of portable pools were unfenced.

Royal Life Saving CEO Justin Scarr says “many parents may not be aware of the legal requirement in most states and territories to fence a pool deeper than 30cm, which includes portable pools. If you’re planning on using or buying a portable pool over the warmer months, remember Don’t Duck Out, Make it Safe”.

Royal Life Saving’s ‘Don’t Duck Out, Make it Safe’ campaign, developed in conjunction with Consumer Protection WA on behalf of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), aims to educate parents, grandparents and carers of young children on the drowning risk portable swimming pools pose, as well as communicating four simple safety tips to reduce such risk. These are:

  1. Supervise - Once the pool has water in, you’ll need to actively watch any child, within arm’s reach at all times, so you can prevent anything from going wrong. It’s too much responsibility to leave older children in charge of younger kids and they may not recognise the signs of a drowning.

  2. Act - Learn what to do in the event of a child drowning incident. You’ll need to know how to carry out CPR and it’s important to start compressions and breaths right away when a child is pulled from the water, and to call Triple Zero (000) so help is on the way. If possible, shout for someone to call Triple Zero (000) while you continue CPR.

  3. Fence - In most parts of Australia, if a pool has more than 30cm of water in it, there’s a legal requirement for it to be fenced. You need to check with your local council or government agency for safety barrier rules.

  4. Empty - Pour out the water, deflate the portable pool and store it away safely out of reach of children when not in use.

KidSafe’s annual ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign, which was launched on Wednesday 2nd October by Olympic swimmer Matt Welsh, calls on all pool and spa owners to check the safety of their barriers in the lead up to the warmer months.

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