Make your backyard swim safe this Australia Day – nominate a ‘Responsible Pool Person’

Despite widespread publicity and community warnings about drowning, more than 70 Aussies have lost their lives to drowning incidents over the summer period, with two months of the season still to go*.


As Aussies get ready to celebrate Australia Day, water safety advocate and Kids Alive – Do the Five founder, Laurie Lawrence is calling on party organisers to nominate a ‘Responsible Pool Person’ to watch over swimmers in backyard pools.


‘Recent research into private pool drowning deaths in children under 5 showed that supervision was completely absent in 64 per cent of drowning deaths, while a further 6 per cent of children were left to be supervised by siblings or other children**.


“It is absolutely vital that kids are supervised at all times, especially at parties. It is important that those supervising know how to perform CPR in the case of an emergency, as a child is four times more likely to survive if given CPR.


“Poolwerx has created the concept of nominating a Responsible Pool Person for parties to ensure safety is a priority and that someone is dedicated to supervision and not distracted at a party.” 


12 per cent of drowning deaths this summer occurred in backyard or public pools* and nominating a designated adult to supervise swimmers was one of the safest ways to avert tragedy.


“Kids, in particular, can get themselves into trouble very quickly in pools and with so much going on at parties, it’s not good enough to just expect that someone will be keeping an eye on swimmers – you need to have formally nominated a responsible adult,” Laurie said.


Pool owners should also be regularly checking access points to pools, including pool fences, gates, latches and areas where a child could gain access to the pool area via furniture or objects that had been left sitting near or against the pool fence or gate.


“Research** shows that in the majority of cases, children under 5 who drowned in backyard pools gained access to the pool via a faulty fence or gate, a lack of a pool fence or because the gate had been propped open.”


“This is an absolute tragedy when you realise that so many drowning deaths are preventable if pool owners simply check their pool surrounds on a regular basis and make sure kids are supervised.” 


Pool owners can visit their local Poolwerx store to receive a free ‘Responsible Pool Person’ hat that their nominated swimming supervisor can wear throughout the day***. Visit to find your nearest store and check out Laurie’s party safe tips.



●     Keep your pool area safe: Ensure pool fencing and self-closing gates and lockable latches are working properly, have a compliant CPR chart displayed within your pool area and ensure there are no objects surrounding the pool a child could use to climb on to and enter the pool area.

●     Appoint a ‘Responsible Pool Person’: Nominate a person or a number of people to take turns being the ‘Responsible Pool Person’ to ensure supervision is constant in the pool area for every swimmer experienced or otherwise.

●     Keep your pool water healthy: Ensure water is balanced and fit for swimming by maintaining healthy pH and Chlorine levels. Chlorine levels should remain at 3-5 Parts Per Million (PPM) and pH levels should be between 7.2 and 7.6.

●     Don’t drink and swim: Don’t swim while intoxicated and avoid bringing glass products into the pool area.

●     Stay sun safe: Ensure adequate protection from the sun – sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and water are must-haves.


* Royal Life Saving Australia, National Summer Drowning Toll (as at 22 January 2019)

** Mahony, A, Peden, AE (2017) NSW Child Drowning Report: A 15 year analysis of causal factors for drowning of children under 5 years in private swimming pools 2002/03-2016/17, Royal Life Saving Society – Australia.

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