Get real on pool safety, not statistics
November 18, 2013 By 1 Comment
Pool safety needs to get serious not just statistics
Hannah’s Foundation, Drowning Prevention, Awareness and Advocacy group says drowning prevention and water safety must get real to the public eye instead of just numbers.
Katherine Plint, Founder of Hannah’s Foundation said “Statistics are becoming really boring, people don’t understand them, they are not being listened to and parents specifically want the real facts on how people have died.”
“In response to the research by Pool Werx and Laurie Lawrence those stats are not surprising but they are actually lower than those previously researched over the last ten years. To me that is PROGRESS on education to pool owners. 1000 people though isn’t really enough indication and some research funding would be better spent on Public education in the first place.” Mrs Plint said.
“When we first lost Hannah, we were seeing over 85% of pools of non-compliant fencing where now that statistic in Qld most definitely is lower because rental properties are under the new legislation.”
“I was disappointed that any type of research didn’t break down owned homes vs rentals or even disclose such because in 2009 our records in regards to safety in rentals was the pivotal point of change for pool legislation in QLD”
“The last year saw seven children in Qld drown in backyard pools and yes they are all preventable tragic accidents but what we aren’t hearing is why they drowned in the first place. The public need to the reason/cause and then a safety message from that tragedy, not statistics.”
“In Qld one gate was propped open giving access to the pool, the child was also in the sight of an older child, the message is clear pool gates are meant to be closed to prevent children under four from entering and only Adult supervision prevents drowning. Pool legislation is for toddlers not older kids and people need to understand that.”
“Two children gained access through broken gates both children simply dropped the gate by standing on it. The message is for pool owners to check their gates regularly and maintain them is crucial.”
“One was in a rental property where after a long deluge of rain the tiles on the bottom of the gate had shifted and prevented the gate from shutting. Again it’s up to tenants to report faults so their agencies can have them repaired” She said.
“A child drowned whilst visiting a family friend and sadly an object such as towel has been caught on the gate and prevented the lock from catching. Again the message is never place objects such as towels, clothes or pool toys near the gate or fence”
“Two kids were over five and were left in Pools or were swimming at the time and floatation devices and lack of supervision by swimming alone was contributory. The message here is don’t’ leave kids in floatation devices and never allow kids to swim alone, even if they are good swimmers”
Mrs Plint said “Qld now had to address home owners on pool safety and get their pools up to the new standard; we don’t wish to see an influx of panicked owners needing compliance and then facing fines in 2015 when there are needed to meet the new standard of pool safety”
“Councils across the country need to stop being so lazy and enforce pool legislation. These laws have been enforceable since 1991 and not many councils have taken their powers seriously”
“Councils need to also educate their pool owners on how to maintain their fences and what issues to look for and public education information nights are the way to do that and social media”
“Sadly many parents believe that CPR and Swimming lessons will save their children, this isn’t the case.”
She said “If people understood that drowning is fatal that message is clear, watch your children and prevent the access to water because you don’t want to find out if little Mary’s skills will save her or your skills of CPR. I knew CPR and Hannah could swim why is she dead?” She said.
“Out of the five under four last year three of those had been in lessons since they were six months of age”
“The message is to always supervise around water even with a pool fence, it’s when supervision breakdown and a non-compliant barrier is in place is when a tragedy will occur”
“I call upon all the agencies to research inquests and speak to the families of these tragedies and understand how simple they happen and educate the public accordingly, we have been doing this now for six years and we are the only agency in Australia doing this”
“Many families want to tell their stories but they don’t trust big companies to do it because many in the past have been polished and haven’t addressed the real reasons in which drownings occur, that is why Inquest findings are needed to be able to print the facts and those facts can’t be disputed” She said.
“Australia does need to get serious about preventing drowning because there is no cure. We call on the media to help us do more.” She said.
For more information on Hannahs Foundation please phone 07 5465 2000 or Katherine Plint on 0423 869 063 (directly) for radio or interviews.
Hannah’s Foundation Ltd is a registered charity and is the only charity in Australia supporting families and victims of drowning and water tragedies.