Siblings Tobin 11, and Isabella Carnes 7 play in their backyard pool. Picture: Lachie Millard
Siblings Tobin 11, and Isabella Carnes 7 play in their backyard pool. Picture: Lachie Millard

Drowning a leading cause of death for children under five

About every three weeks, one Australian child under the age of five dies from drowning.

A 16-month-old girl from the Mackay region had a close call earlier this month after she was found facedown in a Mirani pool.

She was taken to Townsville Hospital and was released two days later.

Over the Australian summer, a Royal Life Saving Society of Australia report shows more than one person will drown every single day.

Now the Mackay Regional Council has urged residents to become water wise with Christmas just around the corner.

Queensland law states all wading pools and spas that can be filled to a depth of 300mm of water or more must have appropriate fencing.

Queensland parents Hayley Corben and Rob Corben with photo of their little boy William Corben, 4, who passed away in a swimming pool accident in February 2015. Picture: Regi Varghese
Queensland parents Hayley Corben and Rob Corben with photo of their little boy William Corben, 4, who passed away in a swimming pool accident in February 2015. Picture: Regi Varghese

This includes meeting conditions about height, latches, objects not being placed around the fence and considering any alterative entries to the pool area.

The council is reminding residents without access to a compliant pool that the Bluewater Lagoon is lifeguard patrolled and would be open every day over the festive season from 9am to 5.45pm excluding Christmas Day.

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RLSSA education adviser Dr Shayne Baker also urged parents to consider the type of pool toys they bought for their children.

Royal Life Saving Society of Australia national education and training advisor Dr Shayne Baker OAM.
Royal Life Saving Society of Australia national education and training advisor Dr Shayne Baker OAM.

"Toy manufacturers go to great lengths to make these things … and every year they seem to come up with new creatures and new enticements for those sorts of inflatables," Dr Baker said.

"The pink flamingoes were ones that you would often see going out to sea when the wind changes and, unfortunately if there is a child hanging on to it for dear life, it's not a good look.

 

"If the child is not a strong swimmer, the child also needs to be fitted with some kind of flotation device to make them a lot safer than just trusting an inflatable toy that costs $10.

"I'm very concerned about that every Christmas."

But residents are also being asked to think about water safety when out and about with rivers and creeks the leading spots for drownings as well as high number of people drowning in boating incidents.

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To stay safe around water, Royal Life Saving is urging all Australians to:

- Supervise children at all times in, on and around water

- Learn swimming, water safety and lifesaving skills

- Wear a lifejacket when boating, rock fishing or paddling

- Avoid alcohol and drugs around water

For more details on pool fencing requirements visit the QBCC's website.


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