Spring into pool safety

To keep smiling this swim season, ensure both your pool and your loved ones pass the
To keep smiling this swim season, ensure both your pool and your loved ones pass the "safety" test. R Michael Stuckey

THE DAYS are getting longer, the weather is warming up and the temptation to dive-bomb dad in the backyard pool is building.

But despite the excitement of spring, Swim Australia chief executive Ross Gage is asking all parents to ensure their family and pool are season-ready.

"No matter whether it's fresh or salt water, a backyard pool, an ocean, creek or a splash in the bath tub, being able to swim, and enjoy the water, is not only a rite of passage for every Australian child, it's a way of life," Mr Gage said.

"But accidents can, and sadly do happen."

Each year, about 100 families present a child under the age of five to emergency rooms, following an immersion incident.

Between 2010 and 2011, 28 children, aged four years and under, drowned. Twenty-two of those were boys.

Swim Australia says 43% of these incidents were in swimming pools.

"While learn-to-swim and swim classes are recommended all-year round, now is a good time to not only reacquaint or re-enrol the family with swimming lessons, but also check your pool and its premises are free from potential harm," Mr Gage said.

"It may take a few minutes, but proper preparation is the key to a successful and safer swimming season."

But Mr Gage said ensuring a backyard pool was safe and child-friendly was only the beginning.

"A family home is filled - in and around the premises - with potential water hazards," he said.

"Being able to swim not only makes one safer around water, but also leads to a lifetime of health benefits, and general enjoyment."

To find out more about Swim Australia, visit


A few tips to consider

Regularly check the pool fence and gate are in working order, with proper fencing and self-closing or self-latching gates

Remove items that can be used to climb the fence, such as chairs, tables, pot plants

Never prop the gate open

Remove temptation from in and around the pool when not in use - for example, toys, floaties and other swim aids

Constantly reinforce the home's water safety rule: "I only go swimming with a grown up."


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Topics:  family lifestyle parenting pool safety swimming

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