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Think SAFE around portable pools

21 December 2020

With Christmas just around the corner and summer well and truly upon us, South Australians are being reminded of the importance of keeping kids safe when they're enjoying a splash in a portable pool. 

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said that while portable pools were a great source of fun during the hot weather, they also posed tremendous risks if parents let their guard down. 

"Every year, at least one child drowns in a portable swimming pool and many more children are hospitalised - some left with irreversible injuries," Attorney-General Chapman said. 

"That's why it's so important to make sure parents understand the risks associated with these pools and take all appropriate steps to ensure the holidays remain a safe, happy time for all." 

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said all parents should remember the importance of keeping kids SAFE. 

"SAFE in this instance stands for Supervise, Act, Fence and Empty," he said. 

"Supervise - actively watch children while they're in the pool; Act - learn emergency response and CPR, and immediately call triple zero for help when needed because your actions may mean the difference between life and death if your child is in danger; Fence - pools with a depth of 30cm or more need a compliant safety barrier; and Empty - after use, pour the water out and store the pool where children can't reach it.

"These are simple steps that can prevent death or serious injury." 

Royal Life Saving SA's Executive Director Jayne Minear, said it only takes three centimetres of water and 20 seconds for a child to drown. 

"If we can save at least one child's life then we have made a difference," she said.

"For every one child that dies as a result of a drowning incident, two will survive - but often they will be left with a long-term medical condition or disability as a result." 

To find out more about portable pool safety, visit: www.productsafety.gov.au/makeitsafe.

The statistics: 

Over 18 years (2002/03 - 2019-20), 21 children aged 0-4 years drowned in portable pools in Australia. 

From July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, 248 people drowned in Australian waterways. 

14 of those drownings occurred in South Australian waterways. 

25% occurred when people were swimming and recreating. 

People aged 25-34 years counted for 17% of those drownings. 

Statistics from the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2020.