Warm weather brings renewed water safety warnings
Consumer protection and product safety regulators have joined forces with Royal Life Saving Society Australia to educate parents, carers and early childhood education and care (ECEC) educators about the drowning dangers associated with portable pools and water troughs.
On average, one young child dies from drowning in a small water source, such as a portable pool or water trough, each year. Other children are hospitalised, as a result of incidents occurring during water play.
Campaign organisers want to spread the message that children can drown in seconds, even with very little water available. Children’s natural fascination with water, combined with being top heavy, means that when children lean over to look into water, or reach for an object, they can easily topple in and drown in just a few centimetres of water.
The organisers also warned that young children are unable to comprehend the risk that water poses, not understanding that water could bring them harm. Childhood drowning is typically a silent event, with children not generally calling for help.
Children under five are most at risk, and the “don’t duck out, make it safe” campaign hopes to highlight the dangers of water play, and emphasise the importance of ensuring water play is safe play.
Safety tips emphasised in the campaign include:
- Ensure children are within arms reach whenever they are in or around the water
- Never rely on older children to supervise younger children
- Ensure pools and water sources are emptied and put away when play is finished
- Always store pools and water sources away from children, and ensure the pool or water source cannot fill with rain water or water from sprinklers.
Guidance for ECEC services about water safety plans is provided in the National Quality Framework.