Parents of children under five years old will have to be in the water with their children at Wellington pools this summer swim season, in line with new Safer Public Pools Code of Practice. The Code of Practice reinforces the professional expectation of the Victorian Aquatic Industry.
Wellington pools have always operated under Life Saving Victoria’s Watch Around Water guidelines that adults must be within arm’s reach of children under five.
However, these guidelines have recently been supplemented to include a mandatory expectation that adults must be in the water with children under the age of five.
Wellington Shire Council General Manager Community and Culture Sharon Houlihan said lifeguards at Council pools in Sale, Yarram, Heyfield, Maffra, Stratford and Rosedale would work with parents to ensure they understood the policy.
“This season, all Wellington pools will operate under Life Saving Victoria's Watch Around Water best practice model, which states adults must ensure they are always in the water with children under the age of five, and within arm’s reach,” she said.
“This means that any responsible person accompanying a child or children under the age of 5 to a Wellington swimming pool must come intending to be in the water with them.
“It only takes 20 seconds for a child to drown and these latest recommendations aim to reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal drownings and associated injuries in Victoria's public aquatic facilities.”
Ms Houlihan encouraged parents to use this change in policy to have fun with their children in the water.
“If you are in the water with your children and within arm’s reach, you are there for them if something goes wrong,” she said.
“Not only that, swimming with your children is a lot of fun and kids love it when their parents are in the water with them.
“Splashing around at your local pool with your kids is the perfect way to spend those hot summer days.” Ms Houlihan also reminded parents that children under 10 years must be accompanied by a responsible adult, and actively supervised, when visiting their local pool.