Where fence is life or death

A NAPPY bucket with water just a few centimetres deep is enough to drown a small child.

A wading pool or the family bath can be just as dangerous for youngsters up to the age of four.

Albury Council has launched a campaign urging parents and pool owners to be vigilant with children around water — because five centimetres of water is all it takes for a child to drown.

A commercial featuring Albury residents has been screening on television.

Mayor Alice Glachan urged pool owners to know their responsibilities with fencing.

“A compliant pool fence is a requirement for all pool owners, and for young children it can mean the difference between life and death,” she said.

Leading Australian pool safety advocate Michael Morris has backed the campaign, signing off each commercial with a plea for people to check their pool fences and to supervise their children.

Mr Morris established the Samuel Morris Foundation after a faulty pool fence led to his son nearly drowning.

Samuel now has a hypoxic brain injury and will require lifelong care and therapy.

“Pool safety is a really important message that we’re trying to promote to parents and pool owners,” Mr Morris said.

“Every year hundreds of Australian children aged up to four are admitted to hospital following a near-drowning.

“On average 33 children in this age group will lose their lives and almost a quarter admitted to hospital following a non-fatal drowning will suffer a hypoxic brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.”

The foundation supports children disabled by near-drowning and their families and helps prevent future drowning through education and awareness.

Cr Glachan said fences deteriorated which meant rechecking was vital.

“Even if you don’t have kids, friends or neighbours might have small children and a non-compliant fence can lead to a tragedy,” she said.

“But no matter how compliant your fence and pool, there is no substitute for constant supervision.

Cr Glachan said many people were not aware small inflatable pools also needed to be fenced off.

The council offers free pool inspections, through 6023 8111 and there is a web page, alburycity.nsw.gov.au/5cms.

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