Home pool safety reminder following tragic toddler drowning

19 November 2021

The Royal Life Saving Society WA and the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of WA are deeply saddened by the news that a three-year-old boy has drowned in a home pool in Greenfields, WA.

Water should be a safe and enjoyable environment for children, but sadly drowning is one of the leading causes of preventable death in young children. It most commonly occurs around the home, at times when adults are not expecting children to be around water.

WA’s home pool barrier legislation has contributed to a significant reduction in drowning deaths in home pools, but approximately half of all drownings in young children still occur in a pool.

When children do gain access to a pool area, it is typically due to a gate, door or barrier being faulty or not self-closing/self-latching, the gate being propped open or by the child using an object to climb over the fence.

Children are curious about their surroundings and are drawn to water, which means parents and carers cannot afford to be complacent. Parents are reminded that ‘Kids can’t help themselves around water, you need to’. Drowning can be prevented by ensuring children are always supervised by an adult whenever they have access to water.

While there is no substitute for active adult supervision to keep children safe around water, a pool barrier provides an important secondary layer of protection, provided it is correctly installed, used and maintained.

All pool owners, including those without young children, are urged to take the time to check their pool barrier before summer. Make sure your fence and gate are in good working order, remove climbable objects nearby and never prop a pool gate open.

If you’re looking to install a pool fence, ensure your supplier provides evidence that the design and the materials used meet the current safety standards. Information on the rules for pool fencing can be obtained from your local council.

Importantly, if children are missing around the home, always check the pool and other water locations first – even if you don’t believe they could have accessed the water. Every moment counts if a child has found their way into water and a quick response could prevent a tragedy.

Royal Life Saving Western Australia’s Keep Watch public awareness and education campaign has been running for more than 25 years. It recommends the following safety tips to keep children safe around water:

  • Supervise. Actively supervise children around water
  • Restrict. Restrict children’s access to water
  • Teach. Teach children water safety skills
  • Respond. Learn how to respond in the case of an emergency


For more information click the link below.

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For pool barrier installation and maintenance, you can trust a member of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association WA. SPASA is the recognised authority on pools and spas, equipment and maintenance. Click the link below for more information.

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