347 drowning incidents in Queensland, 61 children

QUEENSLAND parents are being urged to take precautions in and around swimming pools this summer in light of recent figures regarding child-related drownings in private pools.

Queensland Ambulance Service Assistant Commissioner Peter Warrener said on Sunday paramedics have already responded to 347 drowning incidents across Queensland this year, with 61 of those involving children aged five years or younger.

"Drowning is always a risk with water activities, especially for children," he said.

"Many families think they will hear their child if they are in trouble. Tragically, small children often make no sound when drowning - it is a silent killer which can happen in seconds.

"Children can easily access a pool if they see a way to climb or get through a fence. It is vital that parents remove objects near or on pool fencing which may assist a child gaining access and also ensure the gate is always closed."

Housing and Public Works Minister Tim Mander said new data from the Commission for Children and Young People was a timely reminder to take pool safety seriously.

"The paper shows there were eight pool-related child drownings in Queensland last year, up from three the year before," he said.

"Immersion rates have also dramatically increased. There were 130 immersion incidents relating to children aged between one and four years of age.

"The paper also tells us that for children from birth to four years of age, the increase in drowning numbers can be attributed in part to inadequate fencing, and pool gates being defective or left open.

Mr Mander said it was crucial that Queenslanders check that their pool fence is in good condition, fence gates are working and that they are closed and used properly.

More information about Queensland's pool safety standards, as well as a checklist and other resources for pool owners, is available online at http://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/construction/buildingplumbing/poolsafety/poolsafetylaws/pages/default.aspx

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