The State Government has urged Western Australians to be wary about child safety around portable pools, following a campaign to guard against portable pool drownings and deaths over summer.
The McGowan Government and Royal Life Saving Society are warning consumers about the dangers of portable pools through The Don’t Duck it Out, Make it SAFE campaign, to promote the responsibility around pool ownership.
“We’re highlighting the rules that apply to portable pools,” Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said.
“People don’t realise that those pools come with a whole range of regulations and rules that apply to them, and unfortunately, because people aren’t aware of the rules that apply those pools, we’ve had these tragedies.”
The initiative will promote four safety messages for parents, advising them to actively supervise children near a pool within arm’s reach, act including learning CPR, fencing off a pool and empty portable pools that are not in use.
Under Australian law, portable pools are required to be fenced and if they are not, need to be emptied.
“It’s crucial that consumers comply with the legal requirements to fence portable pools that deeper than 30cm, otherwise they risk a fine of up to $5, 000,” Mr Johnston said.
“Suppliers of portable pools failing to comply with the mandatory standard can also face hefty penalties.”
On average, one child dies from drowning in a portable pool every year.
Other children involved in accidents involving portable pools suffer from permanent brain damage.
Royal Life Saving Society CEO Peter Leaversuch said toddler drownings were a serious issue that needed to continually be addressed, in particular involving portable pools.
“What we’ve found is an emerging trend, which is the portable pools are being now represented in those drowning statistics,” Mr Leaversuch said.
He said the campaign highlighted important ways about keeping toddlers safe around home pools.
“The idea that we start to communicate with owners about the things that we’ve learnt over a long time around a home pool, is that it needs to be fenced, that you need to supervise, you need to learn CPR, these are important messages.”
Melanie Mitchell, whose son Lachlan tragically drowned in a pool at a daycare centre in 2015, said that toddler drownings were “not inevitable, they’re not impossible to prevent.”
“The number one way to do that is to make sure you always supervise your kids around water and be within arm’s reach when they’re swimming, make sure you’re outside with them, whether they’re swimming or not if there’s a pool present,” Ms Mitchell said.
She said while people were concerned about water costs, she said preventing a drowning by emptying a pool was more important.
“The cost of water is nothing compared to going through the experience of a drowning with your child, whether it’s non-fatal or fatal,” she said.