16 Mar Your Say About Compliance and Safety
Last month, our blog was on the subject of ‘Compliance and Safety’, and we examined the continuing deaths of young children in backyard pools despite rigorous safety measures and legislation.
We wanted to explore how you felt about where the responsibility for childhood drowning lies, so that we can create some dialogue and awareness around this subject.
Of course, we are pledged to helping prevent deaths, and our products reflect our stringent standards and commitment to safety and quality. However, statistics have shown that although Australia leads the world in pool safety legislation, the incidence of childhood drowning hasn’t altered appreciably in the last 10 – 15 years. Whether children are scaling the fences, pushing furniture to the fence and climbing up, or – unbelievably – pool gates are being left open, the reality is that a pool fence is a secondary line of defence against a child drowning.
We pushed our post out to more than 22,000 people from our Facebook Page to generate comments and gather your thoughts. Here is the post, including the comments that you responded with:
Some of the thoughts included ideas like:
• If kids want to get over they will, no matter what. It comes down to adult supervision full stop.
• Discipline is essential … children not allowed near the pool, NO questions asked.
• Extra safety measures – putting a bike lock around the entrance to the gate, move stuff away from the fence, pool covers.
• Lock all the doors and windows.
• Safety covers.
• Make fences higher … 1.8m with flat surface slippery so no grip. And nothing to grab to pull themselves up.
• Videos around the pool scanning the fence and gates.
• A motion alarm around a pool.
The overwhelming consensus was agreement in the basic principles we believe so strongly in. Responsible supervision is the most important factor in ensuring safety for everyone, even older children and young adults, who sometimes slip off for a wee drink. (Did you know that the second group most in danger of drowning is young men?).
Discipline and training help children understand the boundaries (not just physical) that parents expect of them. Even young children can start to understand these, especially if they are consistent and clear from the outset.
Swimming lessons were another obvious consideration, and no doubt could help prolong a younger child’s ability to stay afloat when in difficulty. Flotation devices were discussed, and although these are great in assisting any child, an adult needs to fit them first – which implies that they are aware that their child is heading into the pool.
Alarms and motion detectors were suggested. It is imperative that these are considered not as monitoring devices for when the kids are swimming, but as alerts if the kids aren’t supposed to be outside but have somehow made their way into the pool area. However, a toddler can drown silently in seconds, so video surveillance may not prove a reliable back-up at all.
Pool covers were suggested, and implemented, by several people. However, another contributor found their child trapped under a pool cover that was not properly fitted.
Fully compliant, functional and properly-used pool fencing is an obvious defence against drowning. We know that. But vigilance and communication with everyone responsible for the welfare of our families is critical.
Swimming pools are a reality in our modern, affluent society – more so every day. We must try to take every precaution we can think of to protect our children, and never take our eyes off them around water. We hope that this article has been helpful in generating discussion about possible preventative measures that we can put in place to prevent drowning.