Commissioner's Blog: Stay safe around water this summer
With the warm summer months upon us, many families will spend more time outdoors and around water, so it is important to be aware of the risks to keep safe while having fun in the sun.
Sadly 339 people have lost their lives to drowning in Australia this year, according to figures from Royal Life Saving Australia. Rivers and creeks accounted for 34 per cent of all drowning deaths, followed by beaches at 21 per cent.
Drowning deaths can happen to children and adults of any age. Of the 39 people who lost their lives to drowning in Western Australia this year, 79 per cent were adults over 25 years, while eight per cent were children aged 5-9 years – up from zero last year.
Water safety around rivers, creeks and in pools is everyone’s business but there are some risk factors that increase the likelihood of drowning in both adults and children.
Consuming alcohol and drugs around water can affect a person’s balance, coordination and judgement, increasing the risk not only to your own safety but also to children requiring responsible adult supervision, who may need your help in an emergency.
Swimming pools and portable pools are a popular option for families to escape the summer heat, but without constant adult supervision, children of all ages can drown very quickly.
In Western Australia, it is a legal requirement to have a gate that is self-closing and locks properly around any pool with more than 30 centimetres of water.
Families should also be mindful not to prop open pool gates or leave large items such as furniture near pool fences, providing easy access for children to climb over.
Flotation and aquatic toys may seem like a great option to keep children safe while swimming, but they are not safety devices. Adults should continue keeping a watchful eye on children while using them.
For more consumer advice around summer activities, visit: www.productsafety.gov.au/news/be-summer-safe-2022
Anyone thinking about buying a portable pool should spend a few minutes checking out www.productsafety.gov.au/makeitsafe
Commissioner for Consumer Protection