Former Australian Olympic Swimming Coach and child water safety advocate, Laurie Lawrence, is using the first day of summer, December 1, to launch National Check-Your-Pool-Gate Day.
Toddler drownings in backyard pools is still one of the greatest causes of accidental death in children under five years in Australia.
Through his -Kids Alive' Water Safety Program, Lawrence has long promoted five key water safety points around backyard pools to help families make their pools safe for susceptible toddlers.
Lawrence has teamed up with Australian gate hardware company, D&D Technologies P/L, the manufacturer of the Australian-made MagnaLatch® Child Safety Gate Latch, to shine a light on the critical issue of non-compliant pool gates and fences. One of the major causes of toddlers accessing backyard pools is faulty or inadequate gates that don't close or latch correctly.
'While all toddler drownings are preventable," says Laurie Lawrence 'there really are some critical steps that can be taken to vastly increase the security and integrity of your pool gate."
'What the MagnaLatch guys and I are trying to achieve with our National Check-Your-Pool-Gate Day is to make parents, carers and pool owners aware that they constantly need to check their gates and fences are in good working order – all the time. Unauthorised access via the gate is the most common problem here because many people just don't realise the gate, latch and the hinges all need to be checked and maintained periodically. Our shining a light on the first day of summer is simply our way of trying to reinforce this message so that pool gate maintenance becomes habit, especially leading up to the busy pool and swimming season."
Laurie Lawrence's Kids Alive safety points are:
1) Fence the pool
2) Shut the gate
3) Teach your kids to swim…it's great
4) Supervise – watch your mate, and...
5) Learn how to resuscitate
Says Lawrence: 'It breaks my heart every time I hear of a toddler drowning in a backyard pool. Each drowning is a family tragedy, and it's the reason I now spend my life promoting child water safety."
Last year, 13 toddlers lost their lives in swimming pool incidents.
Source: Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2017