Pool safety paramount
AUSTRALIA Day will see thousands of Aussies across the country host backyard pool parties, and local pool experts are once again urging pool owners to take responsibility and be vigilant about the health and safety of their pool, following the horrendous spate of recent drownings.
"40 per cent of pool owners fail to regularly inspect the safety of their pool area,” Rhonda and Pat Henson, owners of Bundaberg Poolwerx said.
"Pool owners must take responsibility and ensure pool gates and fences are in good condition, including the gate's self-locking latch. It's also important that there are no objects or furniture surrounding the pool a child could use to gain access to the pool area.
"Safety is everything around a pool so we are suggesting people nominate a 'Designated Pool Person' to be the safety leader, not only on Australia Day but also in the lead up to ensure the area is safe. There have been far too many tragic reminders this summer already about how vital it is to be water wise and we need to take heed of the message regarding pool safety, and take steps to be more vigilant.”
Poolwerx research also revealed 53 per cent of parents with kids under five, were not confident their child could get themselves out of a pool if they fell in.
"This is a very scary statistic,” Mr Henson said.
"Drowning is one of the major causes of death for kids under five, which is why swimming lessons are a vital preventative step, but another reason a 'Designated Pool Person'' is a smart idea on Australia Day because supervision is paramount when there are children in the pool.”
Mr Henson said the health of the pool water also needed to be considered in order to ensure a safe environment for swimmers.
"Part of a safe pool is healthy water but many people are putting their family at risk by not maintaining their pool water correctly, especially in summer,” he said.
"Pools require additional attention during the warmer months. Prolonged exposure to UV rays burns chlorine, which is required to kill bacteria, and warmer temperatures, especially the heat we are experiencing now, promote algae growth.
"Increased bather loads also add contaminants like sweat, body oils and sun screen in the water, which can impact pH levels and encourage bacteria. Ignoring the impacts of these things in the water can result in nasty bacteria growing that cause swimmer health issues such as throat, eye and ear irritations and infections, as well as diarrhoea, E. coli or giardia, which no one wants for their family.
"With Australia Day one of the most popular holidays for pool parties we recommend locals start to check the safety of their pool area and the health of the water the week before and work out amongst their family and friends who will be the 'Designated Pool Person' on the day, so that they can be confident they are providing the safest possible environment for their family and friends.”