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The simple steps that can prevent young lives being lost

 
The simple steps that can prevent young lives being lost

When it comes to young children losing their lives at home, there is one shocking statistic.

Non-compliant fencing was identified in 90 per cent of pool fatalities involving children under four in Queensland from 2011 to 2021.

This is according to a report into swimming pool immersions of young children released by the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC).

The most common defects were gates that didn’t self-latch, objects near fences that children could use to climb over and gates that weren’t self-closing.

As summer rolls on, Sunshine Coast Council is urging pool owners to take the simple but necessary steps to ensure these preventable tragedies don’t continue.

Service Excellence Portfolio Councillor Christian Dickson said council regulated and educated the community about swimming pool safety, and it was imperative that pool owners conducted regular checks to ensure their swimming pool barriers were safe and compliant.

“Fencing and gates can become faulty with wear and tear, so council encourages every pool owner to follow our free pool safety checklist to provide a safe environment for their families, tenants and visitors,” Cr Dickson said.

“Some people deliberately prop pool gates open, and sadly this was a factor in more than 25 per cent of early childhood drownings recorded in our State over the past 10 years.”

The Queensland pool safety standard regulates the location, height and strength of barriers, non-climbable zones, gate latching requirements and prohibits direct access from a building into a pool area.

The standard applies to excavations or structures capable of being filled with water to a depth of 300mm and intended for swimming, wading, bathing and paddling, including spas and inflatable wading pools.

Pool owners and occupiers can be fined more than $23,000 for failing to ensure a pool gate is securely closed.

As well as compliant fencing, adult supervision is a must-do when it comes to children and pools.

The QFCC report identified that supervision was considered inadequate in 65 per cent of early childhood pool fatalities.

Cr Dickson said people supervising young children should maintain an immediate, continuous view of the pool area and avoid being distracted by other people and priorities.

“Regardless of what else is going on, whether it’s a busy time of day or there are visitors in the home, a responsible adult must be watching young children in the pool area and ensure pool gates are securely closed,” he said.

More information about pool safety compliance is available on council’s website or from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.