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Shut the gate on preventable tragedies

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Shut the gate on preventable tragedies

Following a safety checklist and educating everyone on pool compliance factors could be the keys to a risk-free summer.

As the temperature begins to rise and the temptation to cool off in the backyard increases, so too does the risk of a child’s life being lost in a Sunshine Coast swimming pool.

Sunshine Coast Council is pleading with pool owners to take the simple but necessary steps to prevent a tragedy this summer or risk receiving a $23,000 fine.

Forty children under four years of age lost their lives in regulated pools in Queensland between 2011 and 2021. A further 853 received medical attention after a non-fatal immersion incident.

Faulty fencing and gates that didn’t latch or had been purposely propped open accounted for 90 percent of pool fatalities and life-threatening immersions.

Now is the time to check your pool is safe and educate your family about the importance of water safety and keeping the pool gate firmly shut.

Service Excellence Portfolio Councillor Christian Dickson says the council regulates and educates the community about swimming pool safety, and it is imperative that pool owners conduct regular checks to ensure their swimming pool fences and gates are safe and compliant.

“Fencing and gates become faulty with wear and tear, so council encourages every pool owner to follow our free pool safety checklist regularly to provide a safe environment for their families, tenants and visitors,” Cr Dickson says.

“Some people deliberately prop pool gates open for convenience and, sadly, this was a factor in more than 25 per cent of early childhood drownings recorded in our state over the past 10 years.

“Please take time to educate your family, your kids, the grandparents and even visitors to your home about the importance of shutting the gate and keeping it closed.

“You may think it will never happen to you, until the unthinkable happens.

“Please don’t become the next statistic.”

As well as compliant fencing, adult supervision is a must-do when it comes to children and pools.

The QFCC report identified supervision was considered inadequate in 65 per cent of early childhood pool fatalities. Cr Dickson says people supervising young children should maintain an immediate, continuous view of the pool area and avoid being distracted by other people and priorities.

“Regardless of what else is going on, whether it’s a busy time of day or there are visitors in the home, a responsible adult must be watching young children in the pool area and ensure pool gates are securely closed,” he says.

More information about pool safety compliance is available on the website: sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/development/building/swimming-pools.

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