Blog contributed by Olympian, father of four and ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign ambassador, Matt Welsh.
Spring is here and we are starting to (happily) wave goodbye to the winter chill. It means that those long and warm summer days will be here before we know it and for most of us, those days will be filled with time spent outdoors, BBQ’s, holidays and of course… swimming.
As an Olympic swimmer, I have a great love for the water and believe that pools and spas can be a great addition to any household – especially to help cool off on those hot summer days. However, I am also aware of the potential dangers that the water can pose – particularly to young children.
Being a father of four, I am a strong advocate for safety in and around water for children of all ages.
A crucial point to always remember is that active adult supervision is the key to keeping children safe around water. It is important to remain within arm’s reach of children at all times – 20 seconds is all it takes for a toddler to drown.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children under 5 in Australia, with the home being the most common location for drowning incidents to occur.
So, as we roll into summer we need to ask ourselves – are our backyard pools and spas ready to be used safely?
Simply having a barrier around your pool or spa does not make it a safe space. Like many things around the home such as your car and even your heater, a regular service is necessary to ensure everything is still in working order. Your pool or spa barrier is no different.
In fact, a large number of swimming pool drownings incidents are a result of faulty or non-compliant pool fencing.
To make sure your pool or spa barrier is still in good working condition – regular maintenance is necessary. Over time, the functionality of your barrier can be affected by the weather and general wear and tear. It only takes 15 minutes to check your barrier thoroughly using Royal Life Saving Society Australia pool fencing app.
For more information on Kidsafe’s ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign and to access a range of pool and spa safety resources, please visit https://www.kidsafevic.com.au/water-safety/pool-fence-safety.