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Ban backyard pools and you’ll ‘ban’daid the risk

backyardpoolban-swim austSadly, kids die nearly every day from preventable causes; car accidents, nasty falls, and yes, even drowning.

At Swim Australia, we believe banning backyard pools to help prevent drowning deaths, is not only a bandaid approach to combating such an incident, but is irresponsible.

By teaching your kids to swim, helping them attain water safety skills and by applying four very basic Layers of Protection, drowning can be prevented.

Every day, we teach our kids how to be safer – don’t touch the power point, don’t go on the road, don’t speak to strangers, wear a helmet, only cross at the pedestrian crossing, don’t enter the pool unless you’re with an adult…

Swim Australia, has created the vital Layers of Protection, to help better educate and protect families from drowning tragedies. These four elements must be applied together, wherever water exists:

  • Be Aware: Constant supervision by an adult, who remains within arm’s reach.
  • Be Secure: Keep gates locked up tight, and ensure pool fences comply, and are in good working order.
  • Be Confident: Learn to Swim, and how to get to safety.
  • Be Prepared: Always have a plan in case of an emergency and know CPR.

If you ban backyard pools – something that generations of Aussies have grown to respect and enjoy – would parents feel as compelled to enroll their kids in swimming lessons? The risk has been removed, so there’s now no reason to learn – right?’ Wrong!

The facts are, water hazards exist in and around every home.

Yes, the pool is a big one, but people forget about drink coolers filled with melted ice, buckets stored with water or engine oil, empty garden pots that have filled with rainwater, in ground fish ponds, even water features.

Should we ban every water hazard, in and around the home, just in case? NO!

Ban pools, and we run the risk of becoming less swim savvy, and potentially affect the physical, social, and mental abilities of our youth.

In a recent study, Griffith Institute for Educational Research revealed children who had learned how to swim from a young age reached many developmental milestones earlier than other same aged children who had not.

These milestones included visual-motor skills such as: cutting paper, colouring-in, and drawing lines and shapes; mathematical-related tasks; and literacy and numeracy.

As Australia is continuing to swelter through summer, and Aussies are flocking to the water – to cool off, play, and relish in our aquatic culture – now is NOT the time to be discussing the banning of backyard pools.

Instead, we should be encouraging the use of supervised home pool play, and reinforcing the importance of proper water education; this is the real issue, and this is the proactive answer to reducing drowning deaths.

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