Parents supervise - lifeguards save lives

18 December 2019

We all love summer! School, holidays, festive celebrations and heading down to the local pool for a swim. But it is also the highest risk time of year for drowning. As we head into the summer months, Royal Life Saving WA and the Leisure Institute of WA Aquatics are encouraging people to have water safety front of mind when visiting their local swimming pool, especially when it comes to the supervision of young children.

The most recent National Drowning Report revealed that almost half (45%) of drowning deaths recorded last year occurred during the summer months, which was a 17% increase from the previous year. In addition, on average there are 117 child drowning incidents (including both fatal and non-fatal) recorded in WA each year.

Lauren Nimmo, Royal Life Saving WA says "with the warmer summer months, school holidays and festive season just around the corner, the issue of water safety becomes even more important. It's also a great time to head down and enjoy your local pool. And while your local pool is one of the safest places to swim and have fun, it's important to remind parents with young children visiting these facilities of the need to actively supervise their children."

The Watch Around Water program has been in place in WA public swimming pools since 2004. Despite some recent high profile drowning deaths of young children in public pools nationally, none have been recorded in WA aquatic centres since the program started. Lauren Nimmo says, "While we haven't recorded any child drowning deaths at our public pools over the past 15 years, the risk remains high. The best way to keep children safe when visiting your local pool is to always keep a close eye on them. Vigilance is required, no matter how confident a young swimmer may be. It also means that you can't become less vigilant because you see a lifeguard on duty. As a parent, you know your child best, so the primary supervision role sits with you."

"Our lifeguards are not babysitters and our pool is not a daycare. The lifeguards job is help in an emergency, but they are responsible for watching everyone at the pool. We want you to have fun, but we want you to have fun while being safe. Consider our lifeguards as part of your team to keep your children safe while you are visiting the pool - they count on you to watch your child and you can count on them to help when you need it."

  • Be Prepared - make sure that you have everything you need before you get into the water
  • Be Close - always stay within arms' reach of your child at all times. For older children, always stay within line of sight
  • All of Your attention - focus all of your attention on your child, get into the pool, talk and play with them
  • All of the Time - never leave your child alone in the water, not even with an older sibling


So if you are heading to your local pool this summer, remember - Parents Supervise. Lifeguards Save Lives. It's your child, your focus and always Watch Around Water.