Royal Life Saving NSW has urged Blue Mountains parents and carers to be vigilant about water safety during summer as children and families enjoy local swimming pools.
Royal Life Saving NSW Chief Executive David Macallister said many would be shocked to learn that research done by their organisation shows that 34 people have drowned at public swimming pools across Australia in the past nine years and 41 per cent of them were children under 10.
Mr Macallister said the core message in the new safety campaign is “lifeguards are not babysitters” and children have to be supervised when they are in or around aquatic environments.
A lack of direct supervision by the parent or carer while a child was in the water was the main factor in 70 per cent of drowning deaths of children at public pools, he said.
Royal Life Saving NSW receives financial support through the NSW Government Water Safety Black Spot Fund and works closely with all public swimming pools in this state, which recently received the ‘Keep Watch at Public Pools’ resource kit packed with information cards, posters, brochures and poolside signs.
This is one of the largest water safety initiatives to ever be implemented in Australia.
“Parents need to realise they simply cannot check their responsibilities at the (pool) door,” Mr Macallister said.
“If no one is supervising the child, they may as well be swimming alone.
“Lifeguards cannot be everywhere at once — they might be watching over 30 children at the same time, so parents and carers have to watch.
“Active supervision is always the key.”
Royal Life Saving NSW says children have drowned in public swimming pools because of:
• unrealistic expectations of young children’s behaviour and self-control;
• a false sense of security when each parent or carer mistakenly assumes the other is supervising and;
• a lack of ability to perform CPR and many other reasons.
More details at www.royallifesaving.com.au