Why water safety should be your top priority this Christmas break

Date published: 26 December 2019

Townsville City Council is reminding locals to take extra care when swimming this summer.

Swimming is a great Australian pastime, but the activity carries many risks.

Acting Mayor Les Walker said it was essential for parents to be extra-vigilant around pools, rivers and the ocean this summertime.

“Regardless of how well you think your child swims, it’s vital that all parents and guardians keep an active watch on any children in the water,” Cr Walker said.

“Floaties, swim rings and buoyancy vests cannot be relied on. They don’t replace the safety that a watchful eye provides.”

Cr Walker said all homes had to comply with Queensland’s pool safety laws.

“Pool owners should have first aid and CPR training, and they must have a compliant CPR poster attached to the pool’s safety barrier or displayed near the pool. It has to be in a highly visible spot, so that a person near the pool can see it easily,” he said.

“It’s also important to make sure the pool fence at home is closed. It should not ever be propped open.”

Community Health and Environment Committee Chair, Councillor Ann-Maree Greaney, said adults had to carefully watch over children in more than just pools at home.

“Parents and guardians have a duty of care to not take their eyes of their kids at private pools and spas as well as public pools, rivers, creeks and at the ocean,” Cr Greaney said.

“Every second counts if a child goes underwater, so being alert is essential.”

Cr Greaney said it was also important for adults to never mix alcohol and swimming.

“Research shows that drinking alcohol before swimming increases the risk of drowning or injury, so you should never swim after drinking.”