Kidsafe Qld and Kids Alive Join forces to shut the gate on pool drowning.
CEO of Kidsafe Queensland said that the many of the fatal and non-fatal drowning’s occur when the gate is no longer self-closing or has been propped open.
“It is essential that everyone check their pool gate hinges and latches and make sure they self close and lock,” Susan said, “the number of young children drowning in pools is unacceptable.
“We have a week to make sure our pools meet the legislation which includes 4-sided fences.
“Kids have drowned by crawling through the cat or dog flap”.
In a study conducted in Queensland 2002-2008 for children and adolescents aged 0-19yrs (and recently published) **:
Every year in Queensland about 63 children aged between 0-4 years are rescued from a pool – and 6 of those will be fatal.
80% of pool drowning is in the age groups of 0-4 years. 75% of pool drowning is in the age group of 1-4yrs.
1-4yrs are particularly vulnerable and, generally after 4yrs have possibly started swimming lessons
2 year olds have the highest drowning rate (37/100,000) and a risk 18 times that of 5-19yrs of drowning in a pool.
In the 0-4ears age group a child is three times more likely to drown in an unfenced pool, or a pool that has access from the house, than a pool fenced on four sides – which is the law in Queensland – no access to the pool from the house – you must have 4-sided fences.
Between 2 and 5 years climbable objects have often been used by this age group to gain access to the pool. These include pot plants, plastic chairs (both adult and child’s), and tricycles.
88% of kids 0-14yrs retrieved from pools were inadequately supervised (someone was not in the pool area). Social gatherings are a sure way to distract adults – so are mobile phones.
Kids have been retrieved after having been found head first in the water in a float ring. They are unable to right themselves. Jumping into a ring from the side of the pool can result in the child’s arms being caught and held above the head.
For every child or adolescent (0-19yrs) drowning fatality in Queensland, ten others are rescued, revived and survive. Two out of three of those survivors will be admitted to hospital.
Incidence rates associated with all drowning events in 2002-2008 (0-19yrs) showed an increasing trend. The largest proportion of this trend is associated with non-fatal drowning which increased significantly.
Pools accounted for half of all drowning events, and 43% were fatal.
4-sided pool fencing is the safest way to protect young children from drowning.
All pools must have a self-closing gate and a fence that is well-maintained. Never prop the pool gate open. Always have your child within arm’s reach when your child is in the pool.
In 2010 legislation in Queensland put laws into place that mean all pools must be listed on a Pool Register.
It was also mandatory for any property with a pool which was rented or sold would be required to be certified (by a qualified inspector) that the fence and pool surrounds were safe.
Between 2010 and 2015 a phase-in period was allowed for ALL pools in Queensland to acquire a pool fence compliance certificate by December 2015.
** Corresponding Author: Belinda Wallis
PhD Candidate / Injury Prevention Researcher
Centre for Children’s Burns & Trauma Research
University of Queensland Child Health Research Centre