The only message parents should be reading

14 December 2016

This summer public swimming pools throughout Western Australia will be encouraging community members visiting their centres with young children to put down their phones and focus on safety. 

A new campaign highlighting the dangers of being distracted when supervising children around the water will be run in an effort to prevent childhood drowning and aquatic injury. 

Children remain at the highest risk of drowning and injury. Last year almost half of the injuries recorded at public swimming pool facilities in Western Australia involved children under 14 years of age.

Lauren Nimmo, Senior Manager Health Promotion and Research at the Royal Life Saving Society WA says “more education is needed to ensure that parents are aware of their supervision responsibilities while visiting these facilities with young children. Even though lifeguards are on duty, parents still have a crucial role to play in keeping children safe.”

The Watch Around Water program has been promoting safe supervision messages at public swimming pools throughout Western Australia for over a decade, and as a result there has been a significant shift in patron behaviour. 

Jeff Fondacaro – President, Leisure Institute of WA Aquatics says “The Watch Around Water program has been critical to ensuring that our public swimming pools remain safe for the community. While we have seen a steady improvement in the level of parental supervision at our facilities, we are also seeing a disturbing trend in the number of parents distracted by their mobile phones. We need to change this behaviour quickly to ensure that our pools remain safe.”

The most common factor contributing to childhood drowning is a lapse in adult supervision. Lauren Nimmo says, “it doesn’t take long for tragedy to occur. It only takes seconds for a child to drown, and any distraction, even if only for a moment to check your mobile phone, places them at risk.” 

“Parents need to be mindful of the potential for unnecessary distraction while supervising children, especially around the water, and smart phones with streaming technology pose a real and growing danger as a source of distraction. It is our hope that this new campaign will alert caregivers to the possible distractions, the risks for injury and the potential consequences of a monetary lapse in supervision.”

The campaign will be running at public swimming pools throughout Western Australia this summer.

For more information on keeping children safe at public aquatic centres click the link below.