It’s summer in Australia again – I can tell by the sweat droplets plopping from my forehead onto the keyboard as I type. It’s hot, so I’ve just signed up my hyper-excitable two-year old to swimming lessons (well, water familiarisation lessons) and have invested in a bulk purchase of swim nappies, which, judging by yesterday’s tragically mis-timed bowel movement, don’t always work.
I took my happy little pooper to swimming lessons last summer also, back when he was a chilled, unflappable one-year-old, and while I enjoyed the bonding experience, I couldn’t help but wonder, is this enough?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge advocate of swimming lessons and getting kids confident around the water as early as possible. Teaching little people independence and the skills they need to help themselves, is high on my priority list. But let’s face it – the little tackers are clueless at this age.
If they had a clue, we wouldn’t need to spend hundreds of dollars buying and installing do-dahs to prevent our kids from injuring themselves in every conceivable way. As I look around my home now, I see locks on every drawer, cupboard and whitegood; bars of Alcatraz adorn several doorways; and top shelves threaten to collapse under the weight of their cruel and heavy burdens, while shelves underneath have been cleared of all but a lone dish sponge.
At such a young age you need several lines of defence if you hope to have any chance of protecting your home and family from toddler attack. There’s no substitute for hard, physical barriers when it comes to separating your two-year-old from the knife drawer/poisons cupboard/secret chocolate stash. No amount of “don’t go in there” works – every parent knows that.
And this is why pool gates are so important. They’re a hard, physical barrier between your child and the thing that could kill them. If they know how to dog paddle and get themselves to the side of the pool – that is no small thing, and most certainly will save their lives – but I’d rather they weren’t put in that position in the first place. I never want my little Chief’s swimming lessons put to the test in that way. No parent would.
December 1 is ‘National Check-Your-Pool-Gate Day’, a day when we’re all encouraged to check pool gates are working properly. When was the last time you checked yours? Last month? Last year? Never? Are you sure it always swings back and locks every single time?
Drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death in children in Australia and last year 12 children under 5 lost their lives by drowning in a swimming pools. That’s an awful statistic that makes my heart ache for the parents involved.
Since mandatory pool fencing was introduced in Australia in 1991 the number of child drownings has halved. So we know they work.
It only takes five minutes to check the integrity of your pool gate and if you find it lacking, get it fixed or replaced pronto!
-written by Trina McColl
The Bub Hub is proud to support National Check Your Pool Gate Day — December 1
National Check Your Pool Day is an initiative of Kids Alive and D&D Technologies, the manufacturer of the Australian-made MagnaLatch® Child Safety Gate Latch.
For information on what to check for see this Check Your Pool Gate checklist