Child water safety advocate Laurie Lawrence is calling on pool owners to check the safety of their pool gates on ‘National Check-Your-Pool-Gate Day’, December 1, as faulty pool gates and fences remain a leading cause of drownings in Aussie kids under five**.
Laurie said 12 Aussie children under the age of five lost their lives because of swimming pool drownings in 2017/18*, with hundreds more involved in non-fatal drowning incidents.
“Drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death in children in Australia,” he said***. “Kids gaining access to pools because of faulty gates is something that should not be happening. Pool owners need to check their fences, latches and hinges regularly, as a gate that is not self-closing and self-latching provides instant and often undetected access for toddlers to the pool area.”
John Clark, the Technical Director of Australian company D&D Technologies, the manufacturer of the MagnaLatch® Pool Safety Gate Latch, said the company was a long-time partner of Laurie Lawrence’s KidsAlive water safety program, and last year launched ‘National Check-Your-Pool-Gate Day’ with Laurie, to help curb childhood drownings caused by faulty pool gates.
“Australia has one of the highest pool-ownership rates per capita in the world, but the tragic fact is pool owners are not checking their pool gates and fences regularly,” he said.
“Statistically, gates are the weakest link. We’ve known this for a long time and that’s why we are so committed to helping pool owners get serious about gate maintenance.
“All it takes is a few minutes to check your pool fences and gates, including latches and hinges, are in good working order. This simple routine at the start of summer could save the life of a child.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said ‘National Check-Your-Pool-Gate Day’ was helping to raise further awareness about water safety for under-fives.
“The recent Royal Life Saving Australia National Drowning Report shows that children under five recorded the largest number of drowning deaths in swimming pools, accounting for 36 per cent of all swimming pool drowning deaths in 2017/18,” he said. “We know that supervising kids and making sure fences and gates are secure are key ways to prevent drownings, and initiatives like National Check-Your-Pool-Gate Day are a reminder to parents and caregivers to stay vigilant.”
Laurie Lawrence, said pool gate latch devices were becoming increasingly sophisticated, with in-built electronic visual and audible alarms, like MagnaLatch® ALERT, helping to notify pool owners whenever a gate is entered or exited, or left open and unlatched.
“This new technology is helping keep young children safer around pools and is a fantastic further precaution pool owners can take to improve the safety of their pool area, but it is never a replacement for regular fence inspection and maintenance or parent or carer vigilance.”
MagnaLatch safety checklist for pool gates
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