Shallow pools can be deep trouble

THERE are strict house rules when it comes to using the backyard pool for the Bleechmores of Tamworth.

Everyone knows, including even two-year-old Abbygail, that you swim in it and then you sink it and it gets packed up and put away.

“I know it’s a waste of water but safety is more important,” says mum Jazmine Bleechmore.

“We let the girls play in it and jump around but once that’s over, we let the water out. It never sits around with water in it when we’re not playing in it.”

The safety mantra is king of their castle and it echoes the pool safety warnings issued to consumers again this week, ahead of the heatwave conditions swamping inland areas again this week and in the midst of the swimming season.

The Fair Trading department said while new stringent safety regulations had been introduced for swimming pools, they didn’t necessarily apply to portable or inflatable pools – and householders need to remember that many injuries, and some fatalities, have occurred in seemingly harmless paddling pools. Acting Fair Trading Commissioner John Tansey said a recent Royal Lifesaving Society report showed children under five accounted for nearly half of all swimming pool drowning deaths, with falls into water accounting for 81 per cent of those deaths. 

Under new legislation, any pool, fixed or inflatable, that is deeper than 30cm has to be surrounded by a fence in NSW now.

And for families like the Bleechmores, safety is paramount, and so it is for many of their friends with young kids.

“We are conscious of it, and so are our friends. We have all learnt first aid and we are aware of safety, it’s just so important,” Mrs Bleechmore said.

And swimming lessons for little kids is a prerequisite too. The six-year-olds Electra and Annabelle and even two year old Abbygail are water babies from way back.

“We’ve been going to swimming school for four years – they’re water trained,” she says of the twins. 

“They were all six months old when I first threw them into a pool and they can swim the length of the pool and have learnt how to save themselves.”

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