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  • Keegan Thomson

Watch your kids this summer, warns Mayor

THE warmer weather brings people flocking to the local swimming centres, backyard pools and swimming holes but the Mayor of Blacktown, Stephen Bali is reminding parents of the potential dangers of letting children swim unsupervised.

“Whether at home or in a council pool, the danger is always there,” Mayor Bail said.

“Through education and supervision we could help save a child’s life and ultimately reduce the alarming number of deaths by drowning which occur each year in Australia”, he added.

There have been two near drowning incidents across the last few weeks with the most recent accident involving a seven-year-old boy who was pulled unconscious from a pool at the Blacktown Leisure Centre on October 6.

In response to the near drownings the Mayor has reaffirmed the council’s ongoing partnership with Royal Life Saving NSW.

“Council, through its ongoing partnership with Royal Life Saving NSW, is committed to educating the public on the importance of water safety and supervision to ensure that a trip to the local pool does not end in tragedy,” Mayor Bali said.

David Macallister, the CEO of Royal Lifesaving NSW said direct supervision is the best way to help prevent accidents from happening.

“A lack of direct or active supervision by the parent or carer while a child was in the water have been the main factor in 70% of drowning deaths of children at public pools,” Mr Macallister said.

“We need parents to realise that they can’t check their responsibility at the door. Even though Lifeguards are on duty – they are not babysitters, parents still have a crucial safety role to play. It’s not about shifting responsibility; it’s about keeping children safe,” he added.

Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 there was 280 people drown in Australia with 21 of them being children aged between 0 and 4. Of all those deaths 36 per cent occurred in a swimming pool.

The council has put out a checklist for pool safety at public pools which includes four key elements:

• Be Prepared – Parents/carers should ensure they have everything they need before getting into the water, such as towels and dry clothes

• Be Close – Parents/carers should always be within arms’ reach of their child

• All Of Your Attention – Parents/ carers should focus all of their attention on their child and get into the pool and talk and play with them

• All Of The Time – Parents/carers should never leave their child alone in the water, nor should they be left in the care of an older child or the Lifeguard at a public pool.

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