Pool and spa owners on the Gold Coast and Tweed are being urged to ‘set their defence’ to reduce the risk of children drowning.
Former Olympian swimmer and Kidsafe Ambassador, Matt Welsh this morning joined Kidsafe Australia to launch the seventh annual ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ backyard pool safety campaign, which encourages families to check their fences and gates are up-to-scratch.
The stark warning comes ahead of the warmer months, and following the tragic revelation that 19 Aussie kids under the age of five died from drowning in the past twelve months.
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More than two-thirds of those drowning deaths occurred in backyard swimming pools.
Despite significant reductions in toddler drowning deaths over time, the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia’s National Drowning Report figures show drowning continues to be one of the leading causes of accidental death for Australian children under 5 years of age.
Mr Welsh is pleading for parents to spare a few minutes to check their pool safety is up to date to prevent tragedy.
“There is no better use of 15-20 minutes of your time than setting your defence for the warm summer months ahead and checking the safety of your pool barrier. By doing so, you could save a child’s life,” the father-of-five said.
While pool and spa barriers play an important role in reducing the risk of childhood drowning, Mr Welsh is reminding families that their home pool defence should also include a number of other actions.
“Children drown quickly and silently. Together with a compliant pool barrier that is regularly checked and maintained, your home pool defence should also include active adult supervision of children in and around water, water awareness and first aid knowledge to keep your family safe this season,” Mr Welsh said.